Why Colonel Bunny Was Killed

(2010) 28 minutes, HD

©MirandaPennell Why Colonel Bunny Was Killed

Triggered by the memoirs of a medical missionary on the Afghan borderlands, the film is constructed from archive photographs of colonial life on the North West Frontier of British India at the turn of the 20th century. Searching for clues at the margins of images framed in the midst of resistance to colonial rule, the film plays sound against image and finds striking continuities in British portrayals of a distant place and people.

French subtitles available
DVD published by Filmarmalade, available from LUX and BFI store.

Best international film at 2011 Images Festival, Toronto.
Best international film at 2011 Courtisane Festival of Film Video and Media Art, Ghent.


A fascinating example of colonial forensics, which used a forgotten memoir entitled ‘Among the Wild Tribes of the Afghan Frontier’ as the starting point for a suggestive and never dogmatic exploration of Englishness, subaltern history and the relationship between empire and photography.
Sukdhev Sandhu, Sight & Sound April 2016

The politics of difference and of inequality also hang above this work. Rephrasing the title of a photograph included in the film “Why Colonel Bunny Was Killed” transforms a caption into a statement, changing the status of the original as a means to interrogate the documentation of history. Using original documents to highlight the symbolism of power and thereby to exhume the clues left by the would-be-victors, the artist re-evaluates part of her own history to speak of a wider truth; at once to challenge the authority of the archive of supposedly impermeable documents and to reacquaint us, as a Western audience, with a degree of doubt about the legitimacy of our worldview. In doing so, the artist also illuminates an entirely contemporary yet parallel situation, and taken together, these elements speak not only of her personal resolve but of the circularity of history itself – and of its continuing bias for power and the powerful.
“Facts, after all, are opinions” (Ghandi)”.
Courtisane Festival of Film and Video Media Art, Jury statement: Marina Kozul (HR), Vincent Meessen (BE/US), Adam Pugh (UK)

  • This film can currently be viewed on the Documentary Alliance Films (DAFilms) online platform.