Pressure (15)

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Pressure

Co-written by Horace Ové and fellow Trinidadian novelist Samuel Selvon, this landmark work – Britain’s first black feature film – tells the story of a teenager caught between two cultures.

Tony, the British-born son of West Indian parents, has just left school with good O-levels. The only member of his family born in the UK, he identifies neither with his parents’ cautious conformity, or his older brother’s Black Power politics.

He might feel British, but British society won’t let him get on. At every turn, he encounters entrenched racism: from potential employers, from his girlfriend’s landlady, from the police. Disillusioned, and desperately looking for somewhere to belong, Tony drifts into the company of other unemployed black boys, and into petty crime.

Shot guerrilla-style on the streets of Ladbroke Grove with a mix of professional and non-professional actors, the film’s documentary-like flavour enhances a story of identity politics and race relations which still resonates today.

UK 1978 Dir Horace Ové 136 min Video presentation

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