UK COMPETITION: Lessons In Survival
Thursday, 21 January 2021
THE NAME I CALL MYSELF, dir. Rhea Dillon
Whether old family and friends or strangers we meet along the way, protecting those around us is essential to our survival and informing our evolving morality.
From London nightlife to a dystopian vision of a far right future, from the foot of the Eiffel Tower to the deconstruction of black LGBTQ+ identities, this programme spans new collaborations between Aneil Karia (Surge) and musician-actor Riz Ahmed (The Night Of, Rogue One), and multi-screen moving image from Dazed 100 artist Rhea Dillon. With performances from Sam Spruell (Mangrove) and Esme Creed-Miles (Hanna).
Programmed by Philip Ilson. 77'
This programme contains drug use and racial violence.
A fly on the wall comedy drama observing a myriad of authentic London lives being led - their only common thread being their interactions with a delivery app driver, also moonlighting as a drug dealer.
“Meandering through pick-ups from West London to Brick Lane, multitalented collective Mad Lazy script, perform and direct a motley ensemble of London characters. As faces and locations change, privilege and race loom in the background, whilst each character oscillates along a binary of business-minding and scene-making - some with heads down; others teetering on the cusp of idiosyncrasy into performative nonsense. With wicked comic timing, Aphorisms is a reminder of the biting abruptness with which London can slice through a pretension.”
— Jenna Roberts
THE NAME I CALL MYSELF
The multiplicities of Black LGBTQ identities are carefully constructed and deconstructed, discarding the notion of a universal, homogenous experience of the world. Across two screens, parents stretch in gentle yoga poses with their child, a group of friends have a meal in someone’s home, a person vogues outside alone, and a couple holding hands in the back of a taxi. Small moments of affection that are a joy to witness.
“An ode to living with joy and a deep sense of community. Across two screens, Dillon’s protagonists show what it means to raise, uphold, and care for one another. The Name I Call Myself is a stunning audiovisual composition that actively shows how a person is always so much more than any singular identity could contain.”
— Clara Helbig
Mia takes her sister Squeeze to walk their dog in the fields near their home. The landscape begins to morph around them, plunging them into a powerless limbo of grief and introducing Mia to a strange man lurking at the edge of a dark wood.
“Dusk is falling, and Mia (Esmé Creed-Miles) needs to get her dog and her sister Squeeze home from their walk in an hour. The road is familiar, but something keeps sending the girls in circles, bickering and afraid. Sophie Littman seamlessly blends the impending loss of a family member with a twilit landscape that changes and threatens at every step. Something about the anxiety and chilly exhaustion of getting lost on a long walk resonates with the feeling of losing a loved one. The destination is there, but the journey is confusing and excruciating. Roaring pines and smoking piles of leaves give this short an atmosphere that is both earthy and surreal, ethereal and visceral.”
— Sylvie Dumont
Under Paris' glittering Eiffel Tower, illegal Senegalese migrants sell miniature souvenirs of the monument to support their families back home. Far from their loved ones and hounded by the police, each day is a struggle through darkness in the City of Lights.
“In a beautiful and somber act of simply looking and listening, we hear from those who face the life threatening indictment of adding to "the migrant crisis." Without ever directly revealing those sharing the intimate details of the sheer difficulty, constant fear and immense responsibility of trying to earn a living without citizenship, Tal Amiran subtly reconsiders dominant narratives, encouraging us to take a new, compassionate perspective.”
— Miranda Mungai
THE LONG GOODBYE
A sobering and powerful watch imagining a dystopian near-future as actor and rapper Riz Ahmed unpacks his feelings towards his country.
“Aneil Karia has screened a number of his shorts at London Short Film Festival (2013’s Beat, 2017’s Work), both made ahead of his debut feature Surge which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. In collaboration with actor-musician-activist Riz Ahmed, this work transcends the genre confines of a music video to create an incisive conceptual accompaniment to the title track from Ahmed’s personal album of the same name. Set in a speculative future of a risen right-wing and rampant post-Brexit racism, Riz unpacks his feelings towards his country in a powerful, gut-punch monologue of rap and spoken word.”
— Philip Ilson