Reforming The Image: Black Representation On Screen


21 October 2020

Reforming The Image: Black Representation On Screen

QUAD has a selection of films celebrating Black History month in October, and continuing into November, with films representing the future of Black filmmaking talent.

Reforming the image: Black Representation On Screen season looks at some of the ways in which the Black representation on screen has changed and adapted to reflect a more authentic depiction of the Black experience. The season includes one of the first Black representations on British screens through the work of actor Earl Cameron; work by the Black Film Workshop movement with the Second Sight Film tour and finally some emerging filmmakers who are reshaping a new image of the Black experience at this year’s Derby Film Festival.

Starting off the season, and especially timed for Black History Month, Remembering Earl Cameron includes two ground-breaking films, both directed by Basil Dearden, starring the late Bermuda actor Earl Cameron, who died earlier this year. Cameron broke the colour bar and contributed to the first black representation on the British screen.

Pool Of London (PG) screens in QUAD from 19th to 22nd October.

Pool Of London follows two sailors Dan Macdonald and Cameron’s Johnny Lambert as they become involved in a diamond Heist in 1950’s London Docklands.  Dan learns his involvement in smuggling has made him the chief suspect in a murder case, and reluctantly goes on the run, while Johnny falls for a local ticket seller Pat. Pat and Johnny’s interracial relationship in the film is considered one of the first depicted in British film.

Sapphire (PG) screens in QUAD from 24th to 27th October.

Sapphire highlights the local tensions and hostility towards West Indian immigrants after the murder of a young woman named Sapphire in London’s Hampstead Heath area. Earl Camron plays Sapphire’s brother Dr. Robbins, a middle class, well-educated doctor, who comes to London eight years later to find out the fate of his sister. In contrast to Pool Of London, Sapphire brings racial identity and stereotypes to the forefront.


Second Sight explores the legacy, methods, aesthetics and histories of the UK’s Black Film Workshop Movement, presented as part of a national 2020 film tour from the Independent Cinema Office in association with LUX. Against a backdrop of divisive national politics and civil unrest of 1980’s Britain, a series of radical filmmaking collectives sprung up such as the Ceddo and Sanoka Film and Video workshops. These collectives became part of The Black Film Workshop Movement and their films explored topics such as the Black community’s relationship to Britain’s colonial past; the Civil Rights movement in America; Black feminism; Pan-Africanism; Apartheid and postcolonial and cultural studies.

Dreaming Rivers & Omega Rising Women Of Rastafari (PG) can be seen at QUAD on Friday 6th November & Monday 9th November. 
Dreaming Rivers comes from the Sankofa Film and Video, set up in 1983 and covering politics, gender, sexuality and Black British history. Dreaming Rivers illustrates the spirit of modern families touched by the experience of migration, the film weaves together the ambition-fuelled dreams and memories of Caribbean-born Miss T and her family.

Omega Rising Women Of Rastafari, a ground-breaking documentary, was the first film to explore and challenge myths and stereotypes about the Rastafarian movement and give voice to women of Rastafari, who speak for themselves about their relationship to the movement and its development. The films director, D. Elmina Davis, was a self-taught camerawoman who began her career documenting community issues in Tottenham, also a Rastafarian herself and had travelled extensively in Africa and the Caribbean. Poetry, mythology, archive footage, interviews, music, and dance are skilfully folded into her film’s narrative, revealing the journey to higher consciousness for Jamaican and British Rastafarian women. Interviewees include Judy Mowatt, reggae solo artist and a member of Bob Marley’s backing trio, The I Three.

The People’s Account & Second Sight New Commissions (15) can be seen at QUAD on Sunday 15th November & Monday 16th November.
The People’s Account is a documentary about the Broadwater Farm uprising in Tottenham, which created trouble within The Independent Broadcasting Authority who objected to the description of the police as racist, lawless terrorists, and to the description of the uprising as a legitimate act of self-defence. The programme was pulled from the schedules, intended never to be shown on British television.

Second Sight: New Commissions includes four new moving image works from artists Ayo Akingbade, B.O.S.S. Collective, Morgan Quaintance and Rehana Zaman:
Claudette’s Star acting as part ode and through a series of interpretations, the film depicts young artists considering with sheer wonder who is given a voice.
Collective Hum explores the polyphony of collectively in the desires, motivations and stories that foreground the histories and present of Black British sound. Using multiple narration, overlapping voices and the sound of group interviews, meetings and events to create a polyphonic score to soundtrack images of sound system culture.
Your Ecstatic Self is a conversation unfolding in a car with Sajid, the artist’s brother. As the journey progresses Sajid discusses his engagement with the philosophy and practice of Tantra, having spent most of his 44 years as a strict Sunni Pakistani Muslim. Placing the idiosyncrasies of western fetishism towards eastern philosophical traditions alongside cultural orthodoxies and ancestral knowledge, exploring multifaceted expressions of desire and intimacy. 


One Man and His Shoes (certificate TBC) screens at QUAD from Sunday 8th – 10th November

One Man and His Shoes is the story of the phenomenon of Air Jordan trainers, showing their social, cultural and racial significance; and how ground-breaking marketing strategies created a billiondollar business. However this success story has a dark side, for thirty years people have been willing to kill for a pair of Air Jordans, posing the question as to the whether the desirable image that Michael Jordan and Nike have created is responsible.

Finally as part of Derby Film Festival some of the best emerging filmmakers that are focusing on the stories and experiences that are rarely represented on screen.

The digital revolution has seen a blossoming of Caribbean filmmaking, leaving potential audiences underserved. Caribbean Calling showcase of new and recent shorts from the region, includes a dynamic and diverse selection of short contemporary fiction films curated by the Twelve30 Collective. The films offer a valuable, nuanced understanding of the region and its diaspora, against the background of Windrush and ongoing debates around migration.


Caribbean Calling (Advised certificate 15) screens at QUAD on Sunday 22nd November 5:30pm and Monday 23rd November at 2:15pm. 

Films include:  
Cross My Heart an American teenager visits her family in Jamaica and uncovers a secret that changes the way she sees the people she loves. 
Doubles with Slight Pepper when his estranged father unexpectedly returns from Canada, Dhani must decide if he will help save his life despite their strained relationship. 
The Book of Jasmine a young Spiritual Baptist undergoes the mourning ritual to seek guidance to suppress her desires for the woman she loves. 
She Paradise a teenage girl finds that becoming a glamorous soca-music dancer is a lot harder than she first reckoned.
A Home for These Old Bones BB is an old man who lives in a shack on a plot of land in Guadeloupe from which he is set to be evicted. He despairingly seeks the help of Hilaire, a witch doctor. But will Hilaire will cause an even bigger mess? 


Eyimofe (This Is My Desire) (Adv 15) will screen at QUAD in November.

Eyimofe (This Is My Desire) is the debut feature from director brothers Arie and Chuko Esiri and part of the upcoming independent Nigerian new wave. It follows Mofe (Jude Akuwudike), a factory technician and Rosa (Temi Ami-Williams) a hairdresser in Lagos, as they plan what they believe will be a better life on foreign shores. The longing for another life is but one thread in this complex mesh, capturing some of the essence of the city’s capital and the country’s socio- economic ladder.  
Cinema tickets are £9.80, or £4.00 for young people aged 15 – 25. 

For more information or to book tickets, call QUAD on 01332 290606 or see 

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