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Black Star

Our subscription selection celebrating black stardom, focusing on British talents and pioneering performers.

Our highlights here range from Ousmane Sembéne's groundbreaking 1965 film Black Girl all the way up to 2004’s acclaimed British crime drama Bullet Boy and beyond. Begin a mesmerising journey through the talent of black cinema right here.

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The Story of Lover's RockThe Story of Lover's Rock

Documentary2011100 minsDirector: Menelik Shabazz

Menelik Shabazz (Burning an Illusion) shines a light on the music genre often dubbed ‘romantic reggae’; a uniquely black British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems.

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Dreams of a LifeDreams of a Life

Documentary201191 minsDirector: Carol Morley

The power of kinship is explored in Carol Morley’s drama-documentary, drawn from real life and resonant with the way we live now.

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Looking for LoveLooking for Love

Documentary2015115 minsDirector: Menelik Shabazz

Leading filmmaker Menelik Shabazz (Burning an Illusion) explores intimacy and relationships within Britain’s black community.

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Daughters of the DustDaughters of the Dust

Drama1991112 minsDirector: Julie Dash

Julie Dash’s groundbreaking Daughters of the Dust remains urgent and poetic and continues to resonate, inspiring Beyoncé’s iconic visual album Lemonade.

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The Hard StopThe Hard Stop

Documentary201586 minsDirector: George Amponsah

The story of Mark Duggan, who was shot and killed in Tottenham in 2011, is brought to the screen in this humane, thought-provoking and topical documentary.

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White Colour BlackWhite Colour Black

Drama201683 minsDirector: Joseph A. Adesunloye

A young mixed heritage man confronts the psychological complexities of his identity in this essential, truly cinematic discovery for anyone interested in Black British cinema.

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RafikiRafiki

Drama201883 minsDirector: Wanuri Kahiu

Romantic sparks fly between the daughters of two opposing politicians in Wanuri Kahiu’s neon-bright story of forbidden love in Kenya.

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Recorder: The Marion Stokes ProjectRecorder: The Marion Stokes Project

Documentary201888 minsDirector: Matt Wolf

The taped crusader: VHS nerds, media scholars and archive enthusiasts will appreciate this documentary about the African-American activist who recorded 30 years of TV news.

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TimbuktuTimbuktu

Drama201496 minsDirector: Abderrahmane Sissako

Living in the sand dunes just outside the city of Timbuktu, a cattle herder and his wife find their peaceful existence disturbed by forces attempting to dictate their lifestyle.

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Malcolm XMalcolm X

Biopic1992202 minsDirector: Spike Lee

Denzel Washington takes the lead in one of the great screen biopics, directed by Spike Lee.

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AbounaAbouna

Drama200284 minsDirector: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Two sons struggle to make sense of their father’s sudden disappearance in Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's vivid drama.

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Second ComingSecond Coming

Drama2014105 minsDirector: debbie tucker green

What if an immaculate conception took place in a South London household? Idris Elba stars in a subtle, thought-provoking and original family drama.

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ChocolatChocolat

Drama1988100 minsDirector: Claire Denis

Claire Denis' fully formed debut offers a child’s-eye-view of racial and sexual tension that bubbles with unspoken desires.

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The WoundThe Wound

Drama201788 minsDirector: John Trengove

A traditional rite of passage ritual forms the backdrop for this tough and complex tale of closeted sexuality in South Africa.

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My Brother the DevilMy Brother the Devil

Drama2012107 minsDirector: Sally El Hosaini

Sally El Hosaini's feature debut tells of the love and disenchantment of two British-Egyptian brothers. Gangs, drugs and sexuality come between them

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The Watermelon WomanThe Watermelon Woman

Comedy199785 minsDirector: Cheryl Dunye

Cheryl Dunye's smart and funny romance - thought to be the first feature directed by a black lesbian - remains a breath of fresh air decades on.

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The Harder They ComeThe Harder They Come

Drama1972103 minsDirector: Perry Henzell

The cult classic, acknowledged as the catalyst for the popularisation of reggae in the US, sees Jimmy Cliff traversing the underbelly of Jamaican shanty-town life.

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Black OrpheusBlack Orpheus

Romance1959107 minsDirector: Marcel Camus

Academy Award and Palme d'Or-winning adaption of the Orpheus myth, incorporating the music, costume and dance of Brazil’s Rio Festival.

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Stud LifeStud Life

Drama201287 minsDirector: Campbell X

Campbell X's debut feature is a sexy, young and cool gay romance taking a unique look at a slice of British urban life.

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Fear Eats the SoulFear Eats the Soul

Melodrama197493 minsDirector: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Fassbinder’s international breakthrough, this unconventional love story combines lucid social analysis with devastating emotional power.

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BallastBallast

Drama200796 minsDirector: Lance Hammer

Three haunted souls are thrust into co-existence in this searing debut work from Lance Hammer, a double prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival.

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Burning an IllusionBurning an Illusion

Drama1981102 minsDirector: Menelik Shabazz

Menelik Shabazz’s pioneering first feature traces the emotional and political growth of a young black couple in Thatcher’s London.

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PressurePressure

Drama1975121 minsDirector: Horace Ové

Hailed as Britain's first black feature film, Pressure is a hard-hitting, honest document of the plight of disenchanted black youths in 1970s London.

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BabylonBabylon

Drama198095 minsDirector: Franco Rosso

A young Rastafarian toaster (rapper) with Reggae Sound System Ital Lion, hopes to rise above the trials of his daily life and succeed at a Sound System competition.

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Young Soul RebelsYoung Soul Rebels

Drama1991105 minsDirector: Isaac Julien

The Queen's Silver Jubilee beats to the sounds of Funkadelic, Sylvester and the O'Jays in Isaac Julien’s feature debut.

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Assault on Precinct 13Assault on Precinct 13

Police drama197691 minsDirector: John Carpenter

Besieged in an abandoned police station, a lone cop and his skeleton staff recruit a condemned killer from the cells in a desperate battle to survive the night, in John Carpenter's brutal and unrelenting cult classic.

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Gone Too Far!Gone Too Far!

Comedy201388 minsDirector: Destiny Ekaragha

Riotous urban comedy adapted from the hit Royal Court play, about a Peckham teen affronted by the arrival of his long-lost Nigerian sibling.

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Mystery RoadMystery Road

Crime2013121 minsDirector: Ivan Sen

An Aboriginal cop returns to his hometown to solve the brutal murder teenage girl, uncovering a web of corruption and a growing body count, in Ivan Sen's acclaimed Australian riff on the Western genre.

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WalkaboutWalkabout

Drama1970101 minsDirector: Nicolas Roeg

Jenny Agutter plays the teenage girl reliant on a young Aboriginal (David Gulpilil) for her survival, in Nicolas Roeg's stunning Australian outback drama.

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GoldstoneGoldstone

Thriller2016110 minsDirector: Ivan Sen

Ivan Sen follows his acclaimed Australian thriller Mystery Road with another distinctive, 'outback noir', with troubled indigenous detective Joe Swan (Aaron Pedersen) again on the trail of murder and corruption.

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HoneydripperHoneydripper

Drama2007124 minsDirector: John Sayles

Acclaimed writer-director John Sayles brings the birth of rock 'n' roll to life with electrifying effect, with Danny Glover heading up a stellar cast.

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The Stuart Hall ProjectThe Stuart Hall Project

Documentary201399 minsDirector: John Akomfrah

Composed of film, music and photographs from the archives, a fascinating portrait of the life and times of the founder of cultural studies and the New Left Experience.

More Black Star films in our Rentals collection.