The first television project from Academy Award and BAFTA-winner Steve McQueen, this collection of films for television is based on the real-life experiences of London’s West Indian community. Set between 1968 and 1982, these standalone stories celebrate courage and community. From a group of activists taking on a seemingly hopeless battle against police persecution, to a teenager experiencing a blues party full of dance, danger and romance; they are a powerful reminder of how brave individuals can spark change.
Small Axe consists of five films. Mangrove tells the true story of a group of black British activists, the Mangrove Nine. Lovers Rock is an ode to the romantic reggae genre, Lovers Rock, and to the self-reliance and resourcefulness of the West Indian community in London. Red, White and Blue tells the true story of Leroy Logan, a forensic scientist with a yearning to make a difference with the London Metropolitan Police. In Alex Wheatle, young Alex Wheatle feels part of a community for the first time when he moves to Brixton in London. In Education we learn about the unofficial segregation policy that prevents many black children from having the education they deserve.
Small Axe was screened one-off at the Eye Film Institute as a part of the Amsterdam Art Week. The movie screening was followed by a talk between director Steve McQueen and Guillaume Schmidt, one of the founders of Amsterdam streetwear brand Patta.
Year of release: 2020.
Feature length: 407 mins approx.
Subtitled in English.