Goldsmiths SU Cafe, London
28 October 2021
18:00 - 20:30
Steve McQueen first became interested in film whilst studying fine art at Goldsmiths. He went on to become an award-winning filmmaker and artist, best known for his Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave (2013), an adaptation of Solomon Northup's 1853 slave narrative memoir.
Last year he released Small Axe, a collection of five films "set within London's West Indian community from the late 1960s to the early '80s". The title references a proverb – "Small axe fall big tree" or "If you are the big tree, we are the small axe" – that was popularised by Bob Marley in his 1973 song "Small Axe". The anthology has received widespread critical acclaim.
The five films in the Small Axe collection are:
Red, White and Blue
Come and see this masterpiece of modern television screened at the SU for free as part of our Black History Month events programme.
The true story of The Mangrove Nine, who clashed with London police in 1970. The trial that followed was the first judicial acknowledgment of behaviour motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police.
A single evening at a house party in 1980s West London sets the scene, developing intertwined relationships against a background of violence, romance and music.
Red, White and Blue
The true story of Leroy Logan (played by John Boyega) a Black British man who in the 1980s abandoned a career in research science to become a police officer, despite the fact that his father was once beaten up by racists in uniform.
The true story of award-winning writer, Alex Wheatle, from a young boy through his early adult years. Having spent his childhood in a mostly white institutional care home with no love or family, he finally finds not only a sense of community for the first time in Brixton, but his identity and ability to grow his passion for music and DJing. When he is thrown in prison during the Brixton Uprising of 1981, he confronts his past and sees a path to healing.
Kingsley Smith is enrolled in a school that employs teachers who stifle more than teach, doling out punishment unevenly due to racist bias. Based on real-life events of the 1970s, when some London councils followed an unofficial policy of transferring disproportionate numbers of Black children from mainstream education to "special schools", disguising a racist segregation system.
Goldsmiths SU Bar, 10 Dixon Rd, New Cross, London, London SE14 6NW