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BURNING AN ILLUSION

UK, 1981 (MIFF 1982)

Director: Menelik Shabazz

A young British-born black woman comes of age and begins to question her attitude to life previously influenced by middle-class aspirations and security through marriage. She gains a greater awareness of herself and her identity and position in contemporary British society. Realization of her status, in personal relationships and within a racist society, gradually leads her to political enlightenment and the possibility of responding to the problems and pressures she encounters.

Pat and Del are "both bound by unworkable (for black British young) values — his being of traditional male superiority, even though she's the breadwinner — until their respective illusions are abruptly shattered when Del is imprisoned for cutting up a policeman. In their enforced separation, the couple draw strength from discovering their real identities, and they're at long last able to approach each other and the world on a more equal footing. Despite the odd cliche or clumsy moment, it's a bravely entertaining, highly critical film that poses gender and political problems as being the end product of one and the same subtle oppression — once recognised, the couple's progress towards love and revolt makes for compulsive watching."

,i>Chris John, New Musical Express.,/p>

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