Music and murder. Isaac Julien’s Young, Soul Rebels (1991), is a verité queer inner city love story centred around two disc jockeys, who try and solve the murder of their friend, whilst also navigating, race, sex, sexuality and criminalisation on the eve of the Queen’s silver jubilee, in 1977 London. The themes and issues presented in Julien’s Young Soul Rebels are just as prevalent today as they were when the film first premiered. Young Soul Rebels is not only an ode to the 70s but an ode to London and its diverse nature.
The film follows Caz (Mo Sesay) and Chris (Valentine Nonyela), two best friends, who run a pirate radio station, Soul Patrol, out of an estate in East London’s Dalston. The film follows three stories. The central story focuses on the murder of Caz and Chris’ friend TJ. The B storyline revolves around Caz and Chris’ relationships. Caz is in a relationship with a Punk named Billibud (Jason Durr) and Chris is in a relationship with a girl named Tracy (Sophie Okonedo). As the film unfolds Caz and Chris’ ambitions begin to differ, causing friction in their friendship.
Young soul rebels not only focuses on the relationship between Caz, Chris and their respective partners but also the relationship and dynamic between the various different subcultures active at the time. Both Caz and Chris are soul-boys, whilst the demographic surrounding them consist of, first generation Caribbeans, punks, skinheads and unlawful police officers. Julien dissects the utopian idea of London being a cultural melting pot by highlighting the friction and conflict that being surround by different subcultures brings. Chris experiences racism at the hand of the police as well as the local skinheads, whilst Caz experiences both racism and homophobia. Young soul rebels showcases the plight of the young gay black man and the difficulties faced when living in the intersection between being black and being gay.
(I. Julien 1991 105 min)
Isaac Julien’s debut feature film. An ode to love and music.
(Shashamani 2021 3:58 min)
Knot is about people, communities coming together on screen and off. Knot was birthed and solidified during lockdown, following a great time of racial and civil unrest. The beauty, that Shashamani wanted to convey through the story was that despite the darkness surrounding the world right now, there is still love, joy and sisterhood. There are still elements of beauty in this world and people to share it with.
Knot, showcases garments from Shashamani’s SS21 collection that was inspired by the complexities of Black hair and the abundance of styles and knowledge these roots possess.
This screening event will include closed captions and subtitles. There will also be wheelchair access to the event space (Lecture theatre B).
This event was created by:
Ella Sian Williams
Arthur Dos Santos-Mendes
About director Isaac Julien:
Isaac Julien was born in East London in 1960, to St Lucien parents who moved to England before he was born.
In 1980-83 he organised and co-founded the Sankofa Film and video Collective, a reaction to racial and civil unrest in England at the time. Shortly after he attended Central Saint Martins where he achieved a BA in fine art film in 1984. In 1989 Julien earned a doctorate from Les Entrepreneurs de l’audiovisuel european, Brussels (1989).
Prior to making Young Soul rebels (1991) Julien made Looking for Langston (1989) and the Harlem Renaissance. His first fictional feature, Young Soul Rebels won the Semaine de la Critique prize at Cannes film festival 1991. Since the making of Young Soul Rebels Julien has made several interdisciplinary pieces ranging from art installations to short and feature length films.