Screening | John Akomfrah

"John Akomfrah's 1986 film essay on race and civil disorder in 1980s Britain takes as its point of departure the disturbances of September and October 1985 in the Handsworth district of Birmingham and in the urban centres of London. Invoking the documentary as a poetic montage of associations – a format pioneered by the British documentary cinema of John Grierson and Humphrey Jennings – the film

 portrays civil disorder as an opening onto a secret history of dissatisfaction, connected to the decade's national drama of industrial decline, and the outcome of British society's protracted suppression of black presence."

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