Pressure, the first feature film by a black British director, was the center of praise and critique at the time of its release. Completed in 1974, it narrates a coming-of-age story about a young man who discovers the complexity of Black Power activism in London. This article investigates how the Trinidad-born director Horace Ové pictures activists and Caribbean migrants of the Windrush generation throughout the film. Close analyses reveal that Ové relied on his training as a documentarian to capture what he perceived to be an authentic, rather than celebratory, version of London’s black community. His deliberate choice to steer from an “uplift” aesthetic ignited a debate that continues to the present day. I argue that Ové’s observational style in the film attempts to picture the public and the inner lives of black Britain. Ultimately, it shows that the call for equity and liberation is more than a matter of public protest dressed in the aesthetic of blaxploitation. My argument draws on scholarship by Kevin Quashie and Elizabeth Alexander to reveal the potential of the interior and the imagination in representations of Black Power.
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Research Article| November 01 2020
Blood, Fire, and Interiority in Horace Ové’s Pressure
Nka (2020) 2020 (47): 44–55.
Yasmine Espert; Blood, Fire, and Interiority in Horace Ové’s Pressure. Nka 1 November 2020; 2020 (47): 44–55. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-8719629
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