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BURNING AN ILLUSION (1981) - Menelik Shabazz Retrospective

  • dir.  Menelik Shabazz
  • year. 1981
  • country. UK
  • run-time. 101 mins
  • rating. 15
  • format. 16mm

£6.00 (£4.50 conc.)

Doors 19:00 - Film 19:30

This summer, Deptford Cinema is proud to host a retrospective of a key figure of black British cinema: the internationally acclaimed director Menelik Shabazz. With this retrospective we hope, in our own small way, to introduce his body of work to a wider public and reaffirm him as one of the most significant artists and activists in contemporary British film. 

We kick off our series with his most famous and beloved film, his award winning debut feature (and only the 2nd British film by a black director) BURNING AN ILLUSION. Shown from the BFI's 16mm print!

Other films in the series: Activist shorts, TIME & JUDGEMENT, THE STORY OF LOVER'S ROCK

A pioneering first feature from Menelik Shabazz, much of it shot around the Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove communities, Burning an Illusion marked a coming of age for black British cinema. A film about transformation and identity, it is a love story that traces the emotional and political growth of a young black couple in Thatcher’s London. It was the first British film to give a central voice to a black woman, charting her journey to emotional maturity, emancipation and political awakening.

Pat Williams, played by the award-winning Cassie McFarlane, is a London girl with a caring family, her own flat and a job that she enjoys, who looks forward to settling down to a comfortable married life. Her dream is shattered when she meets Del (Victor Romero), a charming but vaguely discontented toolmaker, who soon moves in and then loses his job causing them both to challenge their assumptions about each other and their aspirations.

Burning an Illusion won the Grand Prix at the Amiens Film Festival in France and Cassie McFarlane won the Evening Standard Award for ‘Most Promising New Actress’. — BFI

More than twenty years on, nothing else quite like it has been made.
— Ade Solanke