Small Axe - Mangrove
A Note from the Director Steve McQueen
Premieres on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Sunday 15 November
"Small Axe refers to a West Indian proverb that means together we are strong. To me, it is a love letter to Black resilience, triumph, hope, music, joy and love as well as to friendship and family" - Steve McQueen
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Mangrove is the first of BBC One’s Small Axe anthology series, which comprises five original films by Academy Award, Bafta and Golden Globe-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame, 12 Years A Slave, Widows).
It premieres on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Sunday 15 November.
Set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, the films each tell a different story involving London's West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will, despite rampant racism and discrimination.
Even though this collection of films is set some decades ago, the stories are as vital and timely today as they were for the West Indian community in London at the time. Small Axe is a celebration of Black joy, beauty, love, friendship, family, music and even food. Each one, in its own unique way, conveys hard-won successes, bringing hope and optimism for 2020.
A Note from the Director
"The seed of Small Axe was sown 11 years ago, soon after my first film, Hunger. Initially, I had conceived of it as a TV series, but as it developed, I realised these stories had to stand alone as original films yet at the same time be part of a collective. After all, Small Axe refers to a West Indian proverb that means together we are strong. The anthology, anchored in the West Indian experience in London, is a celebration of all that that community has succeeded in achieving against the odds. To me, it is a love letter to Black resilience, triumph, hope, music, joy and love as well as to friendship and family. Oh, and let’s not forget about food too!
I recall each of these stories being told to me either by my parents, my aunt, and by experiencing racial discrimination myself growing up in the 70s and 80s. These are all our stories. I feel personally touched by each and every one of them. My five senses were awoken writing with Courttia Newland and Alastair Siddons. Images, smells, textures and old customs came flooding back.
All five films take place between the late 60s and mid 80s. They are just as much a comment on the present moment as they were then. Although they are about the past, they are very much concerned with the present. A commentary on where we were, where we are and where we want to go.
When the Cannes Film Festival selected Mangrove and Lovers Rock earlier this year, I dedicated both to George Floyd and all the other Black people that have been murdered, seen or unseen, because of who they are in the US, UK and elsewhere. As the proverb goes, “If you are the big tree, we are the small axe." Black Lives Matter." - Steve McQueen
Source BBC One
November 10, 2020 6:57am ET by BBC One