Raindance Film Festival coverage commissioned by Film East. Click on the images to be taken to the original review.
The Long Goodbye
Director Aneil Karia, 2020
The Long Goodbye is a short film that accompanies star and co-writer Riz Ahemd's visual album of the same name. It tells the story of a British-Pakistani family who become victims of a racial hate crime during what is seemingly a normal day. In only 12 minutes, director Aneil Karia and Ahmed encapsulate decades of hate and nationalistic ideologies that have been brewing in the underbelly of Britain.
In a post-Brexit world, The Long Goodbye captures the feeling of claustrophobia and dread that has been quietly suffocating migrant communities in Britain for years. But now the hate has woken up, becoming a political movement in countries that wish to return to “pure rationality.” As a companion to Ahmed’s album, this film captures many of the themes seen within the artist’s portfolio, brutally reflecting the reality of racial hate in modern Britain and the impact it has on minority peoples.
The film ends with Ahmed reciting “Where You From,” which reflects on an immigrant’s identity and their place in a society that hates them. The rap, which is also featured in Ahmed and Bassam Tarqi’s Mogul Mowgli - a film that draws on similar themes and questions, encompasses the sentiment of being a minority in not just Britain but in all colonial nations. The Long Goodbye brutally, but honestly, captures the devastatingly hateful world we currently reside in.
No More Wings
Director Abraham Adeyemi, 2019
No More Wings follows two young men, Issac and Jude, as they grow up, and apart, from their home in South London. The film takes place over the friends’ last meal together at their local chicken shop, reminiscing about their childhood spent together on these streets. The two have taken different paths in life: Issac works in central London, making a profitable living, and is moving to East London; Jude deals drugs to provide for his daughter after his potential career as a professional footballer is ruined.
Abraham Adeyemi, who wrote No More Wings as a love letter to his adolescence spent in South London, has made a film that effortlessly balances the different paths life can take. Issac studies hard to get a degree and well-paying job, while Jude is a dreamer, thinking success will just fall into his lap because of his natural talent. Adeyemi doesn’t judge either character for their path - Issac is a workaholic, who doesn’t live in the present and Jude is trying his best to make a life for his disjointed family - but rather reflects on the reality of modern life.
Yet No More Wings greatest strength is in its exploration of home. Jude never wants to leave Woolwich, making it, yet another, one of his dreams to stay in the area, becoming just another person who will never leave. Whereas Issac performs an act of betrayal to his home and his family by leaving. But when does the idea of home become more important than your own growth?
Adeyemi’s simple, but powerful, film won at Tribeca Film Festival, making it eligible for the 2021 Academy Awards. No More Wings is part of Adeyemi’s production company, Creative Blue Balls, which platforms the work of up and coming writers in a regular showcase for stage and screen.
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