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Pressure + Baldwin's Nigger  [DVD]
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PRESSURE + BALDWIN'S NIGGER
Two films by Horace Ové
Hailed as Britain's first black feature film, Horace Ové's Pressure is a hard-hitting and honest document of the struggle and disenchantment faced by British-born black youths. Set in 1970s London, it tells the story of Tony, son of West Indian immigrants who finds himself torn between his parents church-going conformity and his brother's Black Power militancy. In his un-heroic, honest way, Tony goes along with his family's aspirations for him: a quiet life and a career in accounting. Despite being a bright school leaver, his efforts to find a job prove futile. The acts of open discrimination he encounters bring home to him the harsh reality of survival in a country where he is treated as an outsider despite him having his roots there. In a bid to find a sense of belonging, he joins his black friends who, estranged from their submissive parents, seek a sense of purpose in the streets and in chases with the police.
An angry but sincere and balanced film, Pressure deals with the identity struggles that children of immigrants have to face. Horace Ové makes the most of his combination of professional actors and local non-actors from the streets - the latter brilliantly represented by the subtle lead performance of Herbert Norville as Tony, whose real-life frustrations growing up in racially tense London mirrored to a large extent those of his character.
UK | 1975 | colour | Optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 120 minutes | Ratio 1.33:1 | Region 2 DVD
Baldwin's Nigger (1969) is a striking portrait of the writer James Baldwin at his sharp-witted best, addressing a group of radical West Indian students in 1960s London. Accompanied by comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory, Baldwin discusses what it means to be black in America, comparing it to the experience of the British Black community. Impassioned and entertaining, this is a fascinating snapshot of one of America's most powerful novelists and spokesman for a generation.
Filmed interview with Horace Ové
Stills gallery of Horace Ové's photographic work
Fully illustrated booklet
UK | 1969 | black & white | Optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 44 minutes | Ratio 1.33:1 | Region 2 DVD
'the first tough, funny, shaming, shocking, ultimately, against all the odds, optimistic, on-rush of that New Wave in the British cinema' --The Times
'humane, heartfelt and humorous' --Daily Telegraph
'With wit, vigour and compassion it examines the causes and effects of tensions in a multi-racial society and its impact is real and timely --Sunday Times
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Nigger, well this just blew my mind. It was the first time I saw Baldwin or Gregory speak. I found this film fascinating and inspirational.