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But Where Are You Really From?

T A P E Collective's online takeover explores the nuances of being mixed heritage today.

 A fragmented, colourful exploration of generational clashes, outsider tensions and inbuilt racisms sees many of these filmmakers tracing their steps back to the shores of their forefathers. From M.I.A’s defiant self-portrait to Hong Khaou’s grieving, displaced characters. It’s not always possible to define “where you’re really from” but then why should you have to? 
 
- Isra Al Kassi, Nellie Alston and Angela Moneke, T A P E collective
 

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White Colour BlackWhite Colour Black

Drama201683 minsDirector: Joseph A. Adesunloye

A young mixed heritage man confronts the psychological complexities of his identity in this essential, truly cinematic discovery for anyone interested in Black British cinema.

A rich and stunning portrayal of Leke who, travelling to Senegal to bury his father, leaves behind all he thought he knew in London. Though he is initially uncomfortable in a culture where his ‘differences’ are all the more district, he soon comes to see the power of “difference, with his personal growth leading him to find a deeper sense of belonging.

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East Is EastEast Is East

Comedy199997 minsDirector: Damien O'Donnell

Damien O'Donnell's charming comedy-drama about Zaheed Khan (Om Puri), the patriarch of a Pakistani-British family whose children begin to reject their heritage and embrace UK life.

Cracks and culture collisions emerge in a mixed-ethnicity British household headed by Pakistani father George (Om Puri)) and English mother. Puri's immense depiction of a father figure of deep contradictions, who unreasonably and brutally tries to hold his children to a standard that he himself has eluded, sets the heart to this often hilarious but at times vicious storyline. (Isra Al Kassi)

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MonsoonMonsoon

Drama201885 minsDirector: Hong Khaou

Henry Golding shines in this gorgeous study of memory and legacy, a pleasing reflection on the endurance of both.

Hong Khaou's film gracefully explores displacement and reunion in a country energetically moving forward despite its painful ties to the past.

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Playing AwayPlaying Away

Sport1986102 minsDirector: Horace Ové

A cricketing comedy of manners exploring white and black stereotypes, from pioneering British filmmaker Horace Ové.

My mum couldn't be any less interested in sport, except that is for cricket, put a test on, give her a rum and coke and she can sing lyrical about the West Indies team. My dad meanwhile has lived in the UK for nearly 50 years, but he’s never more Australian than when England are playing them. So, when I first watched Playing Away, Horace Ove’s comedic flipping of stereotypes and mannerisms, that also tells a story that seems so disproportionality important to those who just don't get it, well, it made complete sense to me. (Nellie Alston, T A P E collective)

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Smack and ThistleSmack and Thistle

Drama198995 minsDirector: Tunde Ikoli

When a young black wide-boy rescues a rich white girl from a heroin overdose – and falls for her – he’s drawn into a world of high-class crime.

Both a perceptive tale of interracial romance and a crafty urban thriller, Smack and Thistle is an unjustly forgotten British feature from a black director – Tunde Ikoli – who sadly hasn’t directed since.

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PiccadillyPiccadilly

Crime1929109 minsSilentDirector: E.A. Dupont

The glitter of Jazz Age clubland meets the Far East (of London) in this stunningly restored silent classic, starring Anna May Wong.

Anna May Wong’s enigmatic performance made this is one of the greats the of silent era. But what also marks Piccadilly out is it’s surprisingly direct approach to issues of race - one scene even has a white woman expelled from a bar for dancing with a black man, which though no doubt common at the time isn't something you expect to be addressed on happy-go-lucky celluloid. Its cast and crew are also international in a way that feels natural to anyone who lives in London today - Chinese-American, Polish-American, British, German... Piccadilly therefore is a film that is true to the place it is set in ways that so many aren't, even today. (T A P E collective)

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Poly Styrene: I Am A ClichéPoly Styrene: I Am A Cliché

Documentary202196 minsDirector: Paul Sng

The death of punk icon and X-Ray Spex frontwoman Poly Styrene sends her daughter on a journey through her mother’s archives in this intimate documentary.

Told through the heavy lens of a daughter who unwitting became the guardian of her mother’s prodigious music legacy but also her mother’s demons (misogyny, racism, and mental illnesses) has made this one of our favourite docs of the year so far. “Identity is the crisis you can't see”. (T A P E collective)

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My Dad the CommunistMy Dad the Communist

Drama200917 minsDirector: Lab Ky Mo

Tony yearns to break down the cultural barriers between him and his inscrutable Chinese father, before it’s too late.

Realising life is short, Tony seeks to break down the cultural barriers that lie between father and son.

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The Big SickThe Big Sick

Comedy2017120 minsDirector: Michael Showalter

The hilarious, breakout indie comedy about a Pakistan-born comedian and his culture-clash relationship with an American grad student.

The improbable yet so relatable, true story of how actor and writer Kumail Nanjiani found himself caught between parents who just wanted him to be happy—as long as he carries on their cultural traditions and the woman he loves but did not fit that mould. The Big Sick is one of the freshest romantic comedies of recent years.

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Blue FunnelBlue Funnel

Drama199715 minsDirector: Paul Mayeda Berges

An astute, complex tale of identity and family memory. Daniel returns to Liverpool to find a final home for his father's ashes.

Daniel's father left Hong Kong aged 14 and spent his life as a seaman coming in and out of the Liverpool docks where he married an English girl. The ashes need to return 'home' for his spirit to rest... but Daniel realises he's not sure where 'home' is.

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Hidden AwayHidden Away

Drama201492 minsDirector: Mikel Rueda

A chance encounter between a Moroccan boy and a Spanish teen alters the course of their lives.

As the world starts to spin around them, an unlikely friendship forms between teens Rafa and Ibra, this friendship will see them through as they face racism and their own sexual identities.

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Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

Documentary201896 minsDirector: Steve Loveridge

Fascinating delve into the career, personality and politics of award-winning musician M.I.A.  

"I'm ashamed to say that before watching this doc, MIA to me was just that girl who sang "Paper Planes" but ever since I've been obsessed. She's so swaggering, so thoughtfully uncompromising. What a story!" (Nellie Alston, T A P E collective)

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Black GirlBlack Girl

Drama196559 minsDirector: Ousmane Sembène

The first major work by African master Ousmane Sembène, about a Senegalese maid’s despair, brims with both New Wave vitality and African heart.

One of the most stunning, bold and heartbreaking films I've seen - I was in awe of Diouana's style and spirit even in the face of hardship, and how big she dreamed, even as those around her tried to stifle that. (Angela Moneke, T A P E Collective)

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Slow WestSlow West

Western201584 minsDirector: John Maclean

A teenage boy treks through a harsh American west accompanied by a bounty hunter of dubious morality, in this indie western that’s dripped with blood and drenched in style.

Robbie Ryan is one of my favourite DOPs and, alongside director John Maclean, beautifully & playfully captured the heady, intense rush of going forth into new lands through this amazing use of colour. (Angela Moneke, T A P E Collective)

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Bhaji on the BeachBhaji on the Beach

Comedy1993101 minsDirector: Gurinder Chadha

Gurinder Chadha's charming and critically acclaimed comedy about a group of British Asian women from Birmingham who bond during a day-trip to Blackpool.

Before going onto make the football film for dreamers and odd balls, that as young girls we watched over and over again, Gurinder Chadha made this empowering comedy about the significant bond between women, regardless of age and background on a day trip to Blackpool. (T A P E collective)

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The ExilesThe Exiles

Drama196173 minsDirector: Kent Mackenzie

Kent Mackenzie's gritty, vérité depiction of the lives of marginalized Native Americans living in Los Angeles draws comparisons to the work of John Cassavetes and Vittorio de Sica.

Based entirely on interviews with exiles, transplanted from Southwest reservations. The Exiles follows the lives of young Native Americans living in LA as they flirt, drink, party, fight, and dance through the night.

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The Nine MusesThe Nine Muses

Documentary201092 minsDirector: John Akomfrah

John Akomfrah mixes archive material, literary and musical quotations and newly shot silent footage in a wry, rapt meditation on memory and migration.

With its gloriously unclassifiable collage of archival footage and severe winter landscapes this film is unique monument to the UK immigrant experience post 1948.

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We Went to WonderlandWe Went to Wonderland

Documentary200872 minsDirector: Xiaolu Guo

British-Chinese filmmaker Xiaolu Guo follows her ageing parents' journey to the West as they visit Europe. A rare chance to see one of Guo’s most personal films.

Beginning in Xiaolu’s own adopted home - the streets of Hackney - and journeying to the cities of Rome and Paris, the film captures the filmmaker’s parents on their first, and final trip, outside of China. The difference in culture often resulting amusing exchanges, for though her father always dreamed of seeing the West, her mother thinks China is best.

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The CiambraThe Ciambra

Drama2017118 minsDirector: Jonas Carpignano

A boy's life on the mean streets of a cloistered Calabrian community is captured in eye-opening realism, in this stunning work from the director of Mediterranea.

A vividly colourful exploration of outsider tensions and inbuilt racisms seen through the eyes of an equally scrappy but vulnerable 14-year-old boy. Carpignano’s study of Italy’s Roma community left us questioning who's really to blame when one’s choices are so limited. (T A P E collective)

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LiltingLilting

Drama201386 minsDirector: Hong Khaou

Ben Whishaw stars in an intimate portrait of two strangers brought together by the common language of grief.

The fragmented connections of two people joined not by language or culture but rather grief, makes the multilingual basis of this film all the more urgent, with every interaction hanging from the thread of what's intended against what is understood.

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Wild WestWild West

Comedy199284 minsDirector: David Attwood

Defying opposition from his conservative Pakistani family, Zaf Ayub dreams of becoming Southall's greatest gift to country & western.

26 years before Wild Rose, a group of Pakistani musicians from Southall dreamed of taking Nashville by storm with their band, the Honky Tonk Cowboys.

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Coffee Coloured ChildrenCoffee Coloured Children

Biopic198817 minsDirector: Ngozi Onwurah

Experimental monologue about the trauma of racial harassment and self-hate that accompanies growing up mixed-race in Britain.

I've always found Ngozi Onwurah to have such a masterful way of mixing form and genre. Her exploration of the racist experiences and internal conflict of mixed race children is no exception to that. (Angela Moneke, T A P E Collective)

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Cemetery of SplendourCemetery of Splendour

Drama2015120 minsDirector: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s imaginative, sensuous and enigmatic film about soldiers suffering from a mysterious sleeping sickness.

One of my all time favourite directors, ghostly worlds have never been so hauntingly beautiful and true in a way that needn't be explained. (Nellie Alston, T A P E collective)

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