Molly Dineen, the BAFTA-winning film-maker, will be at the screening of her latest documentary, Being Blacker, at the Screen25 film club in South Norwood next Wednesday, where she will take questions from the audience alongside the subject of the movie, Blacker Dread.
Inside Croydon’s subscribers get £2 off the ticket price for the screening and Q&A session with one of the country’s most brilliant documentary-makers.
Being Blacker is Dineen’s first film for a decade.
Dineen’s films are shot with the eye for detail of a photographer – she studied photography at the London College of Printing at the Elephant and Castle in the 1980s.
Her final piece of work as a student so impressed the BBC that they screened it, Home From The Hill, a not-so-affectionate study of ex-Army officer Hilary Hook. Her other docs have included The Lie of the Land, on fox-hunting after the ban, The Lords’ Tale, about hereditary peers, and Geri, on the Spice Girl.
And then… nothing for 10 years.
Being Blacker sees her return to one of the subjects of her student works 30 years earlier, the owner of a record shop in Brixton, Blacker Dread.
Someone suggested that an alternative title for this film might be “Two Funerals And A Wedding”, but that would be to sell it short for an easy gag.
As The Guardian noted: “This first funeral is of Pauline Celestine Martin – who came by herself from Jamaica in 1962 with very little and left behind 94 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom clearly adored her.
“Blacker Dread – sound-system pioneer, record-store owner and pillar of the Brixton community – is Pauline’s son; he followed his mother to Britain aged nine. He asked Dineen, whom he knew from a student project of hers, to film the funeral of the mum he, too, adored.”
Dineen kept filming, for three years. The narrative kept drawing her back.
The Blacker Dread Music Store, on Coldharbour Lane, has to close, because he’s been found guilty of money laundering. Prison awaits. The record shop is now a posh dress shop, next door an even posher estate agent.
Dineen is there, to record all the fine detail. It is a fascinating watch. And as that reviewer said, “Why should we even care, about this colourful and likable, but not especially remarkable character, who isn’t even around for much of his remarkably long documentary on account of being banged up?
“Because it’s not just about Blacker, his children, his mother, grief and families, it’s about an entire community. It’s about immigration and generational differences, between first, second, third and fourth generations.”
Next Wednesday’s screening (June 27) therefore presents a unique opportunity to question Blacker and Dineen about the making of the film, and life in south London in 2018.
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