Dissenters, Lovers and Ghosts: New British Cinema

Date 31.03.2022 - 17.04.2022
Location ACMI, Fed Square, Melbourne

Youthful. Colourful. Post-colonial. This is the real Britain on film.

This selection of feature length and short films curated by the BFI and ACMI celebrates the storytellers who throw away the rule book – and those who dig into the roots of their past to figure out who they are.

Presenting a range of diverse and formally daring works – including ear for eye, Mogul Mowgli and Lovers Rock – Dissenters, Lovers and Ghosts: New British Cinema showcases the most exciting and innovative new and established talent from the UK.

Curated by Stuart Brown and Nia Childs of the BFI, and ACMI Film Programs.
Presented in partnership with the British Film Institute

See the full programme

ear for eye
Screens with short film ‘Play It Safe’ (2021)
debbie tucker green | United Kingdom | 2021 | CTC

Lashana Lynch leads an ensemble cast portraying British and American Black characters navigating through tensions in modern society and generational barriers.

Celebrated playwright and filmmaker debbie tucker green stuns with her second feature – an adaptation of her 2018 stage play of the same name – examining the intergenerational tensions between members of the black community, filmed in a familiarly theatrical space. tucker green’s work brings the theatre to the screen, favouring stories of everyday people finding themselves in somewhat extraordinary circumstances. The landscape of ear for eye is a plain black stage, allowing a phenomenal cast to carry the piece.

Made during lockdown and following the worldwide uprisings against racism, this challenging work creates more questions than it answers, and demonstrates why tucker green is such a daring filmmaker. ear-for-eye is one for the big screen, indeed. (see trailer)

Mogul Mowgli
Screens with short film ‘The Long Goodbye’ (2020)
Bassam Tariq | United Kingdom | 2020 | CTC

Riz Ahmed writes, produces and stars in this story of a British Pakistani rapper struck down by a mysterious illness on the eve of his big break.

“Confident and confrontational, exhilarating in its willingness to constantly shift gears between absurdist comedy and vulnerable, introspective narrative.” Kambole Campbell, Sight & Sound

Bassam Tariq and Riz Ahmed make for a dream pairing in this visual feast of a film about British Asian and Muslim identity. Ahmed stars as Zed, a rapper whose life comes to a standstill after an illness. Worried that he’s about to lose all that’s important to him, Zed quickly realises that an uncertain future in music and a bruised ego is the very least of his worries. As he turns inward, his sense of self begins to unravel, and hallucinations and deep conversations with a neglected family force him to question who he really is.

In perhaps the most challenging of his roles to date, Ahmed shines in this truly beautiful tale of a man in the midst of an identity crisis. (see trailer)

God’s Own Country
Screens with short film ‘No Ball Games’ (2020)
Francis Lee | United Kingdom | 2017 | MA15+

A troubled young sheep farmer embarks on an unlikely romance with a Romanian migrant worker in Francis Lee’s sensual film set against a dramatic Yorkshire landscape.

Johnny (Josh O’Connor) leads a simple yet uninspired life as a closeted farmer, living in rural Yorkshire in the North of England. His world is turned upside down when his strict, traditional father employs handsome Romanian farmhand Gheorghe (Alec Secăreanu) to help out on the farm. What follows is a sensual, heartbreaking queer love story that has earned its place as one of the greatest British films of recent times.

The cult-like following that director Francis Lee has obtained following his feature debut reflects the desire of so many for a story like God’s Own Country to be told. (see trailer)

After Love
Screens with short film Bitter Sea (2018)
Aleem Khan | United Kingdom | 2020 | M

Aleem Khan makes his directorial debut with this modern British drama that stars Joanna Scanlan in a career defining role as an English Muslim convert who begins unraveling the secrets of her late husband.

Following the sudden death of her husband, Nasser, Mary (Joanna Scanlan), a Muslim convert, struggles with her loss. While sorting through his things she discovers a secret about Nasser, a former ferry captain, which takes her across the channel to Calais to see if she can uncover further secrets.

This gentle but tragic piece from director Aleem Khan – his directorial debut – examines the complexity of grief and loss, while delving quietly into the dynamics of intercultural relationships, class and what we give to people (and sometimes lose) when we fall in love. (see trailer)

Lovers Rock
Screens with short film ‘Mandem’ (2020)
Steve McQueen | United Kingdom | 2020 | MA15+

Steve McQueen’s tale of budding romance at an ecstatic house party in the 1980s is a loving ode to West Indian Londoners of that era.

The second installment of acclaimed director Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ anthology is a beautifully realised fable of young love and music at a house party in the 1980s and a collective reimagining of a time and place very precious to West Indian Londoners. Employing an unforgettable soundtrack and a unique visual style, the film serves as an ode to the romantic reggae genre ‘Lovers Rock’ and the youth who found freedom in its sound.

ear for eye

Mogul Mowgli

God's Own Country

After Love

Lovers Rock