An historically significant milestone in Black British cinema, Burning an Illusion focusses on the political awakening of a young Black woman (Cassie MacFarlane) and her romantic relationship with her boyfriend (Victor Romero Evans), whose arrest and incarceration propels her awakening and deeper connections with political activism. Like Ové’s Pressure, Shabazz’s feature film signaled the arrival of a new voice in British cinema, one where a young Black woman is placed at the center of the narrative, foregrounding Black womanhood. (Menelik Shabazz, 1981, 35mm, 106 minutes)
Preceded by Dreaming Rivers, written and directed by Martina Attille for Sankofa Film & Video collective. In this allegorical work, actor Corinne Skinner Carter performs the role of Ms. T, a Black Caribbean woman at the end of life, with her children Daughter (Angela Wynter), Sister (Nimmy March), and Sonny (Roderick Hart) at her bedside attending to the unspoken intimacies of history and transnational belonging. (Martina Attille, 1988, 16mm, 31 minutes)
Part of the film series Burning Illusions: British Film and Thatcherism, engaging questions of cinematic representations of race, class, and sexuality through examples of moving images rooted in Britain's contested social and political histories.