By Dr. William (Lez) Henry
Burning an Illusion and Blood Ah Goh Run, DVD Release, United Kingdom: BFI - 2005
Directed By Menelik Shabazz
Burning An Illusion (1981) and Blood Ah Goh Run (1982) represent a seminal moment in the history of Black British Film for quite different reasons. Blood Ah Goh Run is a short film which captures the mood on the streets of London in the aftermath of the New Cross Fire in 1981 and demonstrates how, well before the days of mobile phones, African people can unify to chant down Babylon. The film is raw and real, providing an insight into the pains of a generation who were expected to fit into a racist society that, for many, was akin to living in the womb of a scornful, resentful mother.
Burning An Illusion, on the other hand, as a piece of fiction, demonstrates what can be achieved when those who live and breathe the reality have the skills to render that reality without compromise. In casting Cassie Mcfarlane in the lead role as Pat, Shabazz unlocks a gem who effortlessly conveys to the audience the trauma and tribulation that always accompanies a journey to a knowledge of an African self.
For once, the character begins to challenge her designated 'place' in an inherently racist, sexist and class-based society and gains a profound insight into the system of racism. Thus, during her tempestuous relationship with Del (Victor Romero), Pat realises that black people can only 'burn the illusion' when alternative knowledge of self is used as the fuel for the fire.
Review by Dr.Lez Henry
Recommended Films List
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See the website: www.akeelahandthebee.com
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Dr. William (Lez) Henry is an Afro-centric cultural historian and has published in the areas of race, ethnicity, music and education in the context of the black experience in Britain.
With thanks to Ricenpeas - the UK-based award-winning documentary film-makers.
Please e-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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