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Burning an Illusion

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Burning an Illusion 15 rating

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

Legal and Courtroom drama 1981 101 mins

Director: Menelik Shabazz

Overview

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Menelik Shabazz’s pioneering first feature, shot around the communities of Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove, marked a coming of age for black British cinema. A love story that traces the emotional and political growth of a young black couple in Thatcher's London, it was the first British film to give a central voice to a black woman, charting her journey to emotional maturity, emancipation and political awakening.

Pat Williams, played by the award-winning Cassie McFarlane, is a London girl with a caring family, her own flat and a job that she enjoys, who looks forward to settling down to a comfortable married life. Her dream is shattered when she meets Del (Victor Romero), a charming but vaguely discontented toolmaker, who soon moves in and then loses his job causing them both to challenge their assumptions about each other and their aspirations. Burning an Illusion won the Grand Prix at the Amiens Film Festival in France and Cassie McFarlane won the Evening Standard Award for 'Most Promising New Actress'.