Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 53: Thu Jul 8

Burning an Illusion (Shabazz, 1981): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.45pm

This 35mm presentation is also being screened (details here) on July 3rd.

BFI review:

Two decades after it was made, why does Menelik Shabazz's first feature, a simple tale of a young girl's relationship, hold such attention? Firstly, because it foregrounds the experience of a young black British woman, breaking with the tradition of placing white males at the center of a story. Even today, that is highly unusual. Secondly, it focuses on her life as a young woman, not as a symbol of black experience. Pat, an ordinary working-class London girl, has a caring family, a job she enjoys and her own flat. Like all drama, the film is about characters facing conflicts. But unlike most dramas about black people up till then, for most of the story it dramatises personal conflicts, not socio-economic or political ones. Pat's goal is to settle down. The most radical thing about Burning An Illusion is that it's about black people who aren't radical. It's about a male-female relationship.

Here (and above) is the trailer.


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