A Brixton Tale @ Slamdance

Poor black teenager who lives in an Estate. Rich white girl who lives in the suburbs. They fall for each other. Tale as old as time. Like most love stories of this type you have a feeling from the beginning that this was not going to end well.

Being from the Somerleyton Estate and little bit of a nerd, Benji (Ola Orebiyi (Cherry, Limbo) spends his time working at his mother’s small nail salon and keeping his best friend Archie (Criaige Middleburg – appeared in an episode of Eastenders) out of trouble. Things change, at first for the better then for worse.

Benji and Archie meet Leah (Lily Newmark – from television’s Cursed). She is a rich girl who fancies herself a YouTube and is very interested in street culture. As she and Benji get closer, Leah films pretty much every moment they are together. She is making a video about the type of area Benji is from. At the same time their behaviour becomes more and more reckless. Taking drugs and getting into fights. All is on film. Things are getting out of control and lines are blurred. Does Leah care for Benji or is she using him to make an edgy, attention grabbing video?

There is a film verite feel and look to the film. Film is grainy and jumpy. Like it was filmed with Leah video cam. It was filmed in the actual Somerleyton Estate and with the collaboration of those who live there. This adds to the rawness which co-directors Bertrand Desrochers (from Quebec) and Darragh Carrey (from Ireland) achieve here.

In only 75 minutes of runtime there is plenty packed in here. Economic issues. Racial tension. Drugs/addiction. Violence. How important social media and the desire to be seen today has become with young people.

The two young leads, who I had never seen before, do a great job portraying their characters. What they can do nothing about is the fact that there is no depth to their characters. No development. No backstory.

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