• Akomfrah in The Nine Muses

On Thursday at 6 PM, the Siskel Film Center will screen The Nine Muses as part of its Conversations at the Edge series. The movie is as much of a mosaic as an essay, drawing from dozens of classic literary sources to address the experience of emigration. Director John Akomfrah says his central subject are the immigrants from former British colonies who came to the UK in the decades following World War II, but Muses also considers journeys in classical mythology and present-day explorations of the Alaskan wilderness. It’s a heady work, to be sure, but a consistently engaging one. Akomfrah started making movies as part of the politically minded Black Audio Film Collective (one of their works, Handsworth Songs, screened at the Siskel earlier this year), and his filmmaking remains motivated by a desire to engage its audience directly. I spoke with the director yesterday about The Nine Muses and its place in his body of work.