But Where Are You Really From?
T A P E Collective's online takeover explores the nuances of being mixed heritage today.
Poetry. Rap. Food. How we choose to express our connections with our cultures takes many forms. In this selection, we hope to present a rich array of offerings from some of the greatest filmmakers of the last 50 years. From trailblazers like Menelik Shabazz to the irreverent millennial voice of Desiree Akhavan, though they all have their unique stories to tell, the complex beauty of the human experience is at all their cores.
- Isra Al Kassi, Nellie Alston and Angela Moneke, T A P E collective
Drama202089 minsDirector: Bassam Tariq
Bassam Tariq’s visceral directorial debut, co-written with Riz Ahmed, finds a British-Pakistani rapper’s life spiralling out of control when, on the cusp of success, he succumbs to a debilitating illness.
"Nah, where you really from? The question seems simple but the answer's kinda long." (Riz Ahmed, Mogul Mowgli)
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.
Destiny captured such an interesting and relevant mix of perspectives here, looking at two brothers from essentially different worlds, divided along cultural lines. I remember watching this and thinking about how people would make fun of "freshies" and reflecting on how that was such a damaging view to hold about our people within our own communities. (Angela Moneke, T A P E Collective)
Drama2004100 minsDirector: Ken Loach
Ken Loach's warm and characteristically understated drama deals with the challenges of a cross-cultural romance as Casim, a second-generation Scottish-Pakistani, falls for Irish-Catholic teacher, Roisin.
File this under 'immigration movies' ' muslim representation' 'rom-com' and many more. Seemingly from two different worlds our Glasgow lovebirds face ostricisation from their communities due to their cross-cultural, inter-faith and inter-racial relationship. "If your dad's such a great guy, I don't see why he can't start treating me like a human being." (Quote from Ae Fond Kiss)
Drama2014113 minsDirector: Céline Sciamma
In the tough suburbs of Paris, sixteen-year-old Marieme decides to reinvent herself when she joins a girl gang.
Because often finding yourself starts with feeling like you belong, to a group, to a moment. From one of the greatest directors of recent years.
Melodrama197493 minsDirector: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Fassbinder’s international breakthrough, this unconventional love story combines lucid social analysis with devastating emotional power.
I've watched this film so many times, and so much has been said about it from its masterful composition, to the simple but effective dialogue, that I'm really not sure what I could add that is meaningful but with everything against it and them, with so much suffering, embarrassment and self-sabotage, this remains for me one of the greatest love stories of all time. The line “When we’re together, we must be nice to one another” always breaks and fills my heart in one fell swoop. (Nellie Alston, T A P E collective)
Documentary201891 minsDirector: Nadia Shihab
A visit to her mother’s home art studio in Texas prompts artist and filmmaker Nadia Shihab to explore the meaning of home and the search for belonging across three generations of her Iraqi family.
Bringing together three generations of Iraqi-Americans, this searching personal documentary explores belonging and the importance of roots and accepts how displacement and isolation shape our identity.
Comedy201586 minsDirector: Desiree Akhavan
Desiree Akhavan directs and stars in this witty, razor-sharp and fearless comedy following the sexual misadventures of a bisexual Brooklynite.
Written for her film studies thesis at NYU, this semi-autobiographical work follows Shirin (Akhavan) as she awkwardly juggles multiple identities, while recovering from a breakup with her first girlfriend. It's a uniquely funny and irreverent film - "Just because your breasts are small, it doesn’t mean they’re not legitimate.”
Legal and Courtroom drama1981102 mins Location: Notting Hill
Menelik Shabazz’s pioneering first feature traces the emotional and political growth of a young black couple in Thatcher’s London.
"This film more than any other has made me feel like I understood my mother's generation from their struggles to their joys. " (Nellie Alston, T A P E collective)
Drama201397 minsDirector: Destin Daniel Cretton
A care-worker is confronted by a troubled teen whose case history provokes an unwelcome reminder of her own concealed and traumatic past.
"My sister is a trainee carer and so I made her watch this last summer to see if it spoke to her as much as it spoke to me (it did). Looking back, so many great actors were launched from this piece, but it still feels like an indie gem. An authentic look into the vulnerability but most importantly the strength of those who have been in care." (Nellie Alston, T A P E collective)
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.
One of the most playful, first-time features I've ever seen. I love the way Cheryl reclaimed a personal history in piecing together a fiction. (Nellie Alston, T A P E collective)
Drama201197 minsDirector: Andrew Haigh
Andrew Haigh's internationally acclaimed tale of a brief encounter between two gay men.
Perhaps the most enduring memories in my own love life have been those lost weekends, confined to the bubble of a room and lost in another person. This film tells that story better than any other I've seen. (Nellie Alston, T A P E collective)
Romance2017107 minsDirector: Mikko Makela
The world’s troubles recede, at least for a moment, in this intimate drama about an affair between a Finnish man and a Syrian immigrant.
Returning to Finland from Paris Leevi meets Tareq, an architect who has come to Finland from war-torn Syria. The film predominantly uses English dialogue, as this is the only language shared by the two leading characters and with this language the two quickly establish a connection, spending the days around midsummer falling for one another in this subtle, underrated romantic drama. The sense of difference to what homeland means between the pair is part of what makes the dynamic so interesting, one feels alienated in the place of his birth and the other meanwhile finding refuge there. (Isra Al Kassi)
Drama198799 minsDirector: Gabriel Axel
Gabriel Axel’s Oscar-winning story of a Parisian chef who finds refuge in a Danish village; a magical film about the power of the senses.
I've always found it interesting how quietly Babette slips off her identity when arriving in Denmark from France. She’s able to see the universalism of humanity through the simple joy of preparing a meal and engaging with the people who eat it, even though everyone in this remote town is initially suspicious of her. With the complications that can derive from being mixed heritage so much on my brain for this season, Babette’s story acts as a reminder that, though we often think of prejudice solely in terms of skin colour, European nationalism takes many forms and hence, in this all-white cast we see many of the same tropes that perpetuate other immigrant stories. (Isra Al Kassi, T A P E collective)
Period drama1975107 minsDirector: Peter Weir
The film that established Peter Weir as a major filmmaker remains one of the most chillingly atmospheric and beautifully enigmatic films ever made.
I watched this in Australia when was about 7 and without giving anything away my immediate reaction was a bewildered frustration at the ending, I was convinced it was real and demanded answers. It's always stayed with me. Australia's landscape, which aboriginals believe to have been sung into existence, is the perfect backdrop for this poignant dream-horror of film.(Nellie Alston, T A P E collective)
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
Despite being based around gang culture, this film broke past the masculine working-class stereotypes of the time to deliver something truly intimate and oh so London.