Criticism | Small Ax – Steve McQueen’s cinematic anthology delves into the experience of black citizens of England



In recent years, the film industry as a whole has become engaged in seeking out new narrative voices, new stories, and new views of stories that have been told through a unique bias. As an important articulation tool, many people in the industry have realized that productions could focus more on understanding identities and promoting social debate, so recently viewers are being envisioned by productions that, between other themes, discuss racism in a different way. open, as the Golden Globe winner for Best Actor mini-series, “Small Ax”, available in Brazil on the Globoplay platform.

Divided into five independent episodes and based on real life experiences, “Small Ax” offers a plunge into the experience and survival of black citizens living in England between the years 1969 and 1982. Steve McQueen and Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s screenplay builds each episode depending on whether in elements, places or characters that have contributed, in one way or another, to make the black community feel more at home, reconnect with its cultures and / or conquer more space and rights in London.

The first film is, without a doubt, the best and most impactful of all – maybe that’s why it lasts longer than the others: two hours. We meet “Mangrove”, a restaurant in the heart of Notting Hill, whose owner, Anthony (Darren Braithwaite) is a black man. That – and restaurant goers, all black – is enough for police officers like Pulley (Sam Spruell) to find excuses to invade the place and cause all kinds of inconvenience. Until the day Darcus (Malachi Kirby) and Altheia (Letitia Wright), members of the Black Panther, decide to organize a protest for the rights of the restaurant’s customers, which ends up triggering the arrest and trial of nine people. . Based on a real story.

Perhaps to break the tension, the second film is lighter, centered on a legitimate community party in a house in the English suburbs. The story is the same: people going to a party and having fun. It is above all a musical production, good to continue to roll on TV on a Saturday night. The third film, starring John Boyega as Leroy, tells the story of a black boy who, against his family, decides to join the police because he believes that by being inside he can change. the system and protect its community. This is the episode that won the Golden Globe.

Directed by Steve McQueen, the film miniseries provide a glimpse into what it is like to be a black citizen in a country that, at that time, was facing struggles for independence from African countries. It was not (and still is not) easy to be an immigrant in a country, and “Small Ax” builds a very real image of this feeling, mixing the bright side with politico-racial tensions. Perhaps only the order in which the stories are told could have been different, leaving the best and longest movie in the end. It’s a great production, however, without a hefty budget for massive marketing and the help of word of mouth convincing people to watch it can end up being one of those gems that no one simply watches. because they didn’t know they existed. .

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