The American King of Cool, Steve McQueen died over forty years ago. There is another Steve McQueen, however. This one was born in West London. His heritage is Grenadian and Trinidadian. This Steve McQueen was the first Black director to take home an Oscar for best picture (2013’s 12 Years a Slave). Peg and I walked out of the Grand Cinema during the whipping scene. We both find it hard to watch pain being inflicted on people.
In the film “Mangrove,” there is plenty of pain being inflicted as well as hate. The whipping may have stopped, but the pain and hate linger on.
The King of Cool was an icon of the from the sixties to 1980. Steve McQueen, London version, has a five film “tour de force” that tells tales of London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s. The King of Cool drew all the eyes to him. The London Steve McQueen draws eyes to his characters and their struggles to survive. Each film is directed and co-written (the shortest is 70 minutes; the longest 128 minutes) by McQueen. The five films are called “Small Axe.” The first three films were the opener for the 58th New York Film Festival in September.
The title of the anthology comes from an African proverb and popularized by Bob Marley’s 1973 with song “Small Axe” (“If you are the big tree, we are the small ax.”). – Bob Marley and The Wailers “Small Axe”
“Mangrove tells this true story of The Mangrove Nine, who clashed with London police in 1970. The trial that followed was the first judicial acknowledgment of behavior motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police.”
“Mangrove” features Shaun Parkes as restaurant owner Frank Crichlow (Shaun Parkes). The Caribbean restaurant, Mangrove, is an oasis of color and vitality. The steel drums play and people laugh and dance. It becomes THE community center.
Except for the British accents, the incidents and the people seem like they jumped out of our own unrest and marching iof the 1960s as well as BLM in 2020. Letitia Wright plays Altheia Jones, a representative of the Black Panthers. She attends meetings and explains the rights of people to lawfully gather and demonstrate.
The person you just want to reach out and strangle is Police Constable Pully, played by Sam Pruell (seen as General Oktobar – in Valerian). PC Pully takes it upon himself to torment people of color at will.
All in all, “Mangrove” is a combination of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Do the Right Thing,” and “Selma.” Put it on your list and see the rest of the series on Amazon Prime.