The Deathless Woman

A Roma woman buried alive in a forest in Poland during World War Two returns to haunt us, uncovering the forgotten history of the Roma in Europe.

Currently in development with the support of FLAMIN and Arts Council England.

This film takes as its starting point an unmarked mass grave in a forest in Poland. In 1942 a Roma woman was buried alive here and subsequently disinterred sixteen years later by the villagers. Mortimer uses her own engagement with the grave and that of witnesses to the massacre and its aftermath to present haunting as a device to collapse time to uncover the forgotten history of the Roma in Europe. Starting with detailed research into real places, people and events, these are meticulously re-created in the film using alternative locations and discarded materials. The work centres on artistic strategies that displace and destabilise the relationship between visibility and truth, thus drawing our attention to how absence, affect, and even ghosts might operate within a socio-political context.

Roz Mortimer is a London-based artist and filmmaker whose work spans photography, film and writing. Her highly aestheticised films use fantasy, theatrical strategies and a phenomenology of the invisible to create works that reconsider how history and knowledge are formed.

Her work has been funded and supported by Arts Council England, Wellcome Trust, Rockefeller Foundation, British Council, Film London, Animate Projects and Channel 4. Her films have been screened extensively around the world in cinemas, film festivals, galleries and on television. Festival screenings range from London Film Festival to Oberhausen, Hamburg, Guangzhou, One World Human Rights Festival, Cinema Verite Tehran, Alternativa, Courtisane, Kassel, Thessaloniki. Recent exhibitions and screenings include Irony as Subversion at the European Media Art Festival (2015), Fade into You at Kunsthalle Mainz (2015), and Animate Projects’ Sites of Collective Memory exhibition at CGP London and Phoenix in Leicester (2014).