A film by
Nobunye Levin


Reverie (2023) lies at the nexus of the essay film and videographic criticism. It is assembled from text and conversation, fragments and out-takes from the previous works of the filmmakers (Nobunye Levin and Palesa Shongwe), excerpts from the film Come Back Africa (Rogosin, 1959), and You Tube clips of the South African singer/activist Letta Mbulu, to reveal a feminist love praxis in the collaborative life of the two filmmakers - Shongwe and Levin. In Reverie, the love labour performed in the friendship of the filmmakers is realised through film, and functions as a generative mode of collaborative film praxis that negotiates the tensions and possibilities between dreaming and freedom. Reverie is concerned with a “new cinephilia” (Shambu, 2019) - a critical orientation towards the love of cinema, demanding it be mobilised as a “worldmaking” activity involved in the political transformation of the world through a transformation of representational practices (Srinivasan as cited in Balsom & Peleg, 2022). Reverie is a work in process, revealing knowledge as open-endedness. It is a work of epistolary, ephemeral impressions, organised through the “logic” and action of reverie, where echo and resonance are considered. Freedom and pleasure are imagined through the aesthetic and form of states of reverie, where the haptic is also conjured as a further site of freedom and pleasure. Reverie is a relational reverie, where a series of women dream of one another in call and response – a freedom dream (Kelley, 2002) tracing the reverberations of various “freedom dreams” (Kelley, 2002) in the audio-visual bonds between the different fragments. In this tracing of the notion of a freedom dream is the consideration of reverie as a political concept for “emancipatory dreams” (Verges, 2021) and dreaming – a tool of political action to ward off the inertia of despair.


  • DirectorPostdoctoral Fellow in Decolonising Screen Worlds
  • Creative ProducersChouette Films
  • Still fromFilm Festival Film © Old Location Films & End Street Africa 2019