With films and series such as “Kidulthood,” and “Topboy,” representing facets of British urban lifestyles, it would appear that stories of young Black men and women in the United Kingdom dealing with discrimination, economic deprivation, and other societal ills, are commonplace. That could not be further from the truth. It would take a man with great vision and grit to be the linchpin in telling these stories, and Horace Ové, would be that man. In the mid-1970’s, the Trinidadian-born filmmaker made the first feature film in Britain directed by a Black director, “Pressure,” to share the experiences of a young British-Trinidadian growing up in London.
Now on the 40th anniversary of the film’s release, the Caribbean Film Series celebrates this occasion with a special screening at BAMcinématek in Brooklyn, NY in pure 16mm.
“Pressure,” follows Tony (Herbert Norville, “Full Metal Jacket”), the English-born son of Trinidadian immigrants and a recent high school graduate. His fine education means nothing, as he struggles to find even menial work on the streets of London, unlike his white, and fully-employed friends, and much to the disappointment of his proud parents, who lord their sacrifice of them seeking ‘a better life’ for Tony to live in England and not Trinidad, over his head. With a big brother criticizing him for not embracing his Afro-Trinidadian heritage, and a racist society not allowing him to climb the social ladder of his peers, the disillusioned Tony eventually keeps company with other young, unemployed Blacks, following their knockabout behavior pick-pocketing and smoking joints in an effort to escape their desperate circumstances, until a forced awakening forces him to see why their existence is so dismal.
““Pressure” is a hugely significant film and a stunningly complete debut,” says journalist and film programmer Ashley Clark, who curated the film series Space is the Place: Afrofuturism on Film and Behind the Mask: Bamboozled in Focus, at BAMcinématek. “As the child of a father whose parents came to London from the Caribbean in the 1950s, “Pressure” offers a rare and valuable window into what it must have been like for him to forge his Black British identity in a harsh, rapidly-changing social climate.”
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SOURCE: Shadow and Act – Curtis Caesar John