Skip to main content

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>

See also...

THE CRIME OF CAPTAIN COLTHURST

The Easter Rebellion began in Dublin on Sunday, April 24th, 1916. The following evening, Francis Sheehy Skeffington, journalist, nationalist, pacifist was arrested in the street. This action by an ... More »

Pretend You'll Survive

The film tells the story of a woman and her nuclear nightmares; points out the links between peaceful nuclear energy and the arms race; exposes the absurdity of civil defence in the face of nuclear ... More »

MAEVE

Maeve has a multi-layered narrative structure because it moves through a series of flashbacks of Maeve, the heroine, as a young girl, a teenage schoolgirl and a young woman. This use of flashback is ... More »

Comic Story

A humorous comment on the often obsessional nature of animation and its relationship to horror comic characters. ... More »

Out of Order

Freddy and Myra. a homicidal husband and wife team, go about despatching their latest yearly victim, an overworked graphic designer, who lives in a high-rise apartment. For Freddy and Myra, killing ... More »

PETER GRIMES

The opera is set in a small fishing town on the East Anglian coast of England about 1830. ... Peter Grimes, a difficult and irrascible fisherman, alienated by temperament and character from the ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director