›› Colonial Gods
a short film by Dee Rees.
2009 | 29 mins | UK.
principal players: Cornell John / Izi, Said Mohamed / Abdi, Mukhtar Yaro / Mr Achebe, Yakuba Bayi / Mr Togba, Golda Rosheuvel / Suzanne, Jams Thomas / Mr Rowlands and Lee James as Izi's Lover.
Official Synopsis: "A complicated friendship between a Somali man and a Nigerian man unfolds against the chaos of social displacement in the small immigrant community in Cardiff, known as Tiger Bay."
Starring Cornell John of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Rastamouse fame and local actor Said Mohamed, this gripping drama is more than just the story of the friendship between two men of differing ethnic background. For Cardiff Bay is but the re-branding of Tiger Bay; a multicultural area of Wales that went on to see the birth of its most famous native resident, one Dame Shirley Bassey, only for this case of history repeating, to be more than what one man can take.
In short, this is a film that wonderfully captures the heart and soul of a man fighting for his rights; that of social housing for the poor, against lush homes for the rich. It is a work that finds Izi a man of passion. Passionate about the displacement of his local community, as memories come flooding back of migrants having been forcefully moved on, in years not that long ago. Determined that things this time around are going to be different, the story beautifully ups its game with the arrival of lodger Abdi; a young man who soon becomes politically aroused by Izi's call to arms, only for Abdi to learn that Izi's passions equally lie elsewhere.
Winner of the inaugural IRIS Prize with her lesbian drama Pariah, here writer and director Dee Rees, alongside cinematographer Bradford Young, once again triumph in delivering a work full of emotion and meaning, even if in the process the gay aspect of the piece, has been all but cast to the wings. That said, this nevertheless remains a work of power, vividly depicting the ugly face of gentrification and the real life issues that confront all too many in the society of today, namely a fight that perhaps this time around, Izi cannot win?
Gay Visibility - covert.
Nudity - none.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.