British visionary, Sir Steve McQueen, moves from gallery to theatres to TV with a series focused on London’s West Indian community.
Words Adam Bryce
Steve McQueen, the masterpiece of a man, shifts gear from video art to cinema to the small screen. Fortuitous, cos Covid.
The man who brought us the impeccably directed triumphs 12 Years A Slave, Hunger and Shame, delivers another thought-provoking drama, Small Axe. In collaboration with the BBC, McQueen wrote and directed the anthology series — a six-parter that tells five stories set within London’s West Indian community from the late 60s to the early 80s.
First off the rank is the trailer for Episode 1, Mangrove, telling the story of the Mangrove March which was led by nine Black British activists. They were subsequently charged with inciting a riot during a protest against the police targeting of their community.
“I dedicate these films to George Floyd and all the other Black people who have been murdered, seen or unseen, because of who they are, in the US, UK and elsewhere. If you are the big tree, we are the small axe. Black lives matter.” — Steve McQueen.
In a statement, McQueen announced that the project is dedicated to the memory of George Floyd whose death, at the hands (or knee) of a white police officer, sparked Black Lives Matter protests worldwide.
With a UK release date of 25 September, Small Axe will be a must-watch. Hold tight for the New Zealand release announcement and, in the meantime, allow the trailer to whet your appetite.