SPOKEN DIARY, Dir. Alia Syed
Special EventsPublic Intimacies

PUBLIC INTIMACIES: Correspondences: A Programme of Films by Alia Syed

15:00 Sun 19 Jan 2020

ICA Cinema 2

“Alia Syed’s practice as a filmmaker tests the conventions of writing.” - Amna Malik

“As a young, mixed-race woman from Scotland — identity yet unknown — landing in Plaistow was a bit confusing.” - Alia Syed (Vertigo, Vol. 2, No. 2, Spring 2002)

Taking as a point of departure her epistolary project Letters to Leena, a series of correspondences to her mixed heritage daughter, curator Jemma Desai presents a selection of works from British experimental filmmaker Alia Syed. Featuring readings from Jemma Desai and artist Jasleen Kaur. Guest programmed by Jemma Desai. 65’

This is part of Public Intimacies, a strand of communually programmed films and illustrated lectures looking to the agency of women’s voices when in dialogue with themselves, and the potential for self-recognition through self-documentation.


The Mall, St James's
020 7930 3647
Full £13-4 / Concessions £11-2 / Blue Members £7-8


Please find all access information here, or drop a line to Helen MacKenzie at for more information or special requests.


    Alia Syed 20 mins (UK, 1992)

    A woman remembers her past by faces she sees while travelling on the Underground. She begins to believe that these people, like her, have all taken part in the same event which took place in the family home in Pakistan. The story takes the form of a letter to her friend Fatima.

    Alia Syed 20 mins (UK, 2001)

    Spoken Diary intertwines the inner angst of a woman traversing hesitation, loss and denial with that of her journey through dark, wet and desolate streets of London. Interspersed are layers of words emanating from the fleeting movement of the pen on the diary pages while simultaneously being spoken in the third person, distancing the protagonist from the self.

    Alia Syed 25 mins (UK, 1986)

    The film is structured entirely through the process of exploring 16mm printing technics, with the pace of the film being stipulated by the time it took to fade from a saturated dense black to a ghostly white.