Two more of the Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen’s deeply personal accounts of the black British experience in the 1980s continue …
“Lovers Rock” – I hate to say it … but I couldn’t get my head into this one –there was no narrative, music I didn’t understand … I fell asleep at the beginning, woke up to see and hear a 5 minute segment of, as far as I was concerned, repetitive song where a house-full young dancers were living life in the early 1980s (when I was no longer living in England) … and of course didn’t finish watching.
However having read the outstanding reviews etc – I needed to understand at least – “Lovers Rock” will never be my cup of tea … but I can learn about the challenges faced by the Caribbean or African peoples …
Lovers Rock music is a reggae style noted for its romantic sound and content, exemplified by the British 1979 hit ‘Silly Games’ by Janet Kay; its roots lie in the rock steady era … when Ken Boothe, Johnny Nash and John Holt enjoyed international hits with versions of well-known love songs.
|The Lovers ... via a newspaper image taken by me|
The lovers are part of this heady world … and we follow their nascent relationship unfolding against this background … over one long night.
Guardian’s review waxes lyrical about McQueen’s film making … the way he brings
the period and location to life, along with the very personal representation of
how life was lived … party, to racism from the locals, to prejudice from the
police, to church … all coming about through these party-houses because black
people felt unwelcome in mostly white nightclubs.
The Jamaican - Ken Boothe
“Red, White and Blue” … I did enjoy … especially as I’d done my homework and knew where the lead character, Leroy Logan, was heading in his life.
otherwise have been disappointed in the paucity of the story … as we’re only
given the first few working years of a former Metropolitan Policeman’s life – a
black police officer in an essentially white force.
John Boyega as Leroy Logan.
again from a photo of a newspaper image
But, as you might expect, the story telling was excellent … Leroy Logan, the son of Jamaican parents, achieved a scientific degree, held a job as a research assistant … before giving it all up and joining the police – we witness his family’s exasperation as he apparently gives up his all - a successful forensics job.
He had witnessed his father being viciously attacked, and understood the loathing of law enforcement sensed by his community, but felt he wanted to change people’s outlooks from within the Metropolitan Police.
He ends up being rejected for promotion – albeit being the top, if not the top, achieving officer … wanting to step over the line, but refusing to do so … so started his career – the endless grind of getting up each morning, priming his uniform … ready for each very challenging day: both from within and without.
racist insults from his colleagues, and open rejection from his community. We see the story slowly unfold … John Boyega
playing Leroy Logan, making every scene painfully real … in this fact based
John Boyega filming c/o We Live
The film is not long – but hits home, while we understand he rose, with tenacity, through the ranks to become a former superintendent in the London Metropolitan Police and was both a founding member of the Black Police Association and its chair for 30 years.
He has been described as “one of the Black officers who helped change the Met” … I would hope that his and McQueen’s influence continues to change our perceptions and understanding of human life.
Leroy Logan has, in conjunction with McQueen, recently published his autobiography “Closing Ranks: My Life as a Cop” …
… there’s admiration here from McQueen who himself has done so much for black film, cinema and black issues within black diaspora.
Last night was the 4th film of the series of 5 … which will be another interesting aspect of black British life … which is so informative for us in this day and age.
I will do a
more informed write up on Steve McQueen’s career – so I can learn, but then if
you wish you too can appreciate his amazing abilities in the creative world.
McQueen in 2013 with
I’m finding the experience of Steve McQueen’s work extraordinary as I explore more about his experimentation and slow development into becoming a filmmaker – though, despite that success, the artistic talent has not dimmed. He is constantly exploring and breaking new creative ground.
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