While local rep theaters are out of commission, we'll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. Academy Award-winning English director Steve McQueen, best known for 2013's 12 Years a Slave, recently created a film series titled Small Axe. Each of the five installments depicts a different slice of Black British culture in the '60s and '70s, and all are streaming on Amazon Prime.
After a series of racially fueled raids by Notting Hill police at a Caribbean restaurant named Mangrove, local Black activists peacefully take to the streets in protest, leading to unfounded arrests for "riot incitement" and the highly publicized trial of the Mangrove Nine. Letitia Wright of Black Panther stars as real-life leader of the British Black Panther movement Altheia Jones-LeCointe. Amazon Prime.
Lovers Rock (2020)
This gorgeous romance centers on one night at a house party and its effect on several intertwining relationships. Here, guests drink, smoke joints and dance to a form of reggae called "lovers rock," finding pure joy and sacred refuge from the constraining tension of a white-dominated West London. Amazon Prime.
Red, White and Blue (2020)
John Boyega of Star Wars fame stars as Leroy Logan, a London man who, after seeing his father assaulted by police at a young age, joins the Metropolitan Police in an attempt to reform the institution from within. This searing biopic probes the complexities of choosing between assimilation versus rebellion. Amazon Prime.
Alex Wheatle (2020)
Another biopic, this one following the turbulent life of the titular author Alex Wheatle. After growing up feeling alienated in a mostly white children's home, Wheatle eventually finds community in Brixton, where he's able to get in touch with his Jamaican identity and his love of music before his involvement in the Brixton uprising unjustly lands him in prison. Amazon Prime.
In this coming-of-age story, Kingsley, a brilliant 12-year-old Black boy with a passion for astronomy, is suddenly transferred to a suspicious school for the "educationally subnormal." This unofficial segregation policy systemically prevents Black children from receiving the education they deserve—luckily, a kindhearted psychologist appears to offer Kingsley a glimmer of hope. Amazon Prime.