17 May 2010 | HenryHextonEsq
"Have you been long in this country?" / "I was born here, sir"
Vivid, only occasionally heavy-going account of African Caribbean experiences of Britain in the 1970s. Much interesting material on the cultural shift from the original post-WW2 generation of immigrants and the younger generation now native to Britain. It begins as an even-handed study and gradually takes sides - with good reason.
This is particularly of interest as an examination of how the original Trinidadian immigrants differed from their children who were born and bred in England. The older generation tend to be content to achieve on the terms defined by the English - hard work and respect for authority. This is not an option open to the youth, as represented in Herbert Norville's Tony. Perhaps the most incisive scene in the film is his job interview early in the film, with the unctuous insincerity of the boss Mr Crapson (John F. Landry), a Steve Pemberton lookalike complete with Bobby Charlton comb-over; who is noticeably uneasy behind the false bonhomie. There's also a fascinating disco scene, with Tony meeting an old white girlfriend, who has managed to escape from the poor, inner city neighbourhood through getting work.
Horace Ove uses an eclectic cast, with such distinctive familiars from British culture as Tommy Vance and Norman Beaton present and correct. This works an intriguing cultural artifact from the mid-1970s - evocative terraces and tower blocks - and as a rare insight into the black British experience, as Black Power began to reflect concerns over unemployment, police brutality and racism.
Overall, "Pressure" is slightly too didactic to work as a whole for me, but an urgent, interesting piece of film-making all the same.