Tag Archives: racism

Suri, Sandhya (dir). I for India


In 1965 Yash Pal Suri left India for the U.K. The first thing he does on his arrival in England is to buy two Super-8 cameras, two projectors and two reel to reel recorders. One set of equipment he sends to his family in India, the other he keeps for himself. For 40 years he uses it to share his new life abroad with those back home – images of snow, miniskirted ladies dancing bare-legged, the first trip to an English supermarket – his taped thoughts and observations providing a unique chronicle of the eccentricities of his new English hosts. Back in India, his relatives in turn, respond with their own ‘cine-letters’ telling tales of weddings, festivals and village life. As time passes and the planned return to India becomes an increasingly remote possibility, the joy and curiosity of the early exchanges give way to the darker reality of alienation, racism and a family falling apart. A bitter-sweet time capsule of alienation, discovery, racism and belonging, I for India is a chronicle of immigration in sixties Britain and beyond, seen through the eyes of one Asian family and their movie camera.

Director: Sandhya Suri
Year: 2007
Distributer: ICA Projects

Levy, Andrea. Small Island

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“It is 1948, and England is recovering from a war. But at 21 Nevern Street, London, the conflict has only just begun. Queenie Bligh’s neighbours do not approve when she agrees to take in Jamaican lodgers, but Queenie doesn’t know when her husband will return, or if he will come back at all. What else can she do?

Gilbert Joseph was one of the several thousand Jamaican men who joined the RAF to fight against Hitler. Returning to England as a civilian he finds himself treated very differently. It’s desperation that makes him remember a wartime friendship with Queenie and knock at her door.

Gilbert’s wife Hortense, too, had longed to leave Jamaica and start a better life in England. But when she joins him she is shocked to find London shabby, decrepit, and far from the golden city of her dreams. Even Gilbert is not the man she thought he was…”

Publisher: Headline Review
Year: 2004
ISBN-10: 075530750X

Levy, Andrea. Every Light in the House Burnin’

burnin burnin3d

‘Better opportunity’ – that’s why Angela’s dad sailed to England from America in 1948 on the Empire Windrush. Six months later her mum joined him in his one room in Earl’s Court…

…Twenty years and four children later, Mr Jacob has become seriously ill and starts to move unsteadily through the care of the National Health Service. As Angela, his youngest, tries to help her mother through this ordeal, she finds herself reliving her childhood years, spent on a council estate in Highbury.

Publisher: Headline Review
Year: 1995
ISBN-10: 074724653X

Frears, Stephen (dir). Dirty pretty things


Okwe is an illegal Nigerian immigrant leading a hard life and struggling to survive in London’s underground. He works as a hotel receptionist in the night time and as he has a doctor degree he practices some medicine, during the day, in a very odd way. Besides that he must constantly escape from Immigration officers. One day Okwe discovers by chance an illegal scheme of surgeries is being lead by Juan, his boss in the hotel. Juan quickly comes up with a tempting proposal: if Okwe accepts to perform the illegal surgeries he makes a lot of money and gets legalized situation in the U.K. Can Okwe keep his moral values intact?

Producers: Robert Jones, Tracey Seaward
Year: 2002
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Steven Knight

(spoiler alert)

Paton, A. Cry, the beloved country

“Cry the Beloved Country” is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its contemporaneity, unforgettable for character and incident, “Cry, the Beloved Country” is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.

Author: Paton, Alan
Title: Cry, the beloved country
Publisher: Scribner
Year: 1951
ISBN: 0140181733

Viewer Comments:


Essential reading for anyone going to Africa.  As a political statement it has long been taken over by events but the themes of forgiveness redemption and restoration remain.  Set not far from the Charles Johnson hospital in Zululand which at one time did much to foster the ideals expressed in the book.  The first couple of pages are classic writing.

Lee, H. To kill a mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee tells of Scout and Jem’s childhood in Alabama and how a series of events shook their innocence, shaped their character and taught them about human nature. Lee examines racism and other prejudices through a page turning story told in a wonderful, Southern voice.

Author: Lee, Harper
Title: To kill a mockingbird
Publisher: Vintage
Year: 1998
ISBN: 0749398086

Syal, M. Anita and me

The story of nine-year-old Meena, the daughter of the only Punjabi family in the Midlands’ mining village of Tollington. The novel provides a vision of British childhood in the 1960s, a childhood caught between two cultures, each on the brink of enormous change

Author: Syal, Meera
Title: Anita and me
Publisher: London : Flamingo
Year: 1997
ISBN: 0006548768

Walker, A. The Color Purple

Set in the deep American south between the wars, this is the classic tale of Celie, a young poor black girl. Raped repeatedly by her father, she loses two children and then is married off to a man who treats her no better than a slave. She is separated from her sister Nettie and dreams of becoming like the glamorous Shug Avery, a singer and rebellious black woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the support of women that enables her to leave the past behind and begin a new life. 

Author: Walker, Alice
Title: The Color Purple
Publisher: Phoenix
Year: 2004
ISBN: 0753818922

DVDs available on loan


Hood, Gavin (dir). Tsotsi

In Johannesburg, a small time criminal, Tsotsi, is a teenager without feelings, hardened by his tough life. After a series of violent gang hits, Tsotsi hijacks a car. However, whilst driving, Tsotsi finds that there is a baby on the back seat. He brings the baby to his house in the slum. The next six days bring about a change in him that couldn’t be foreseen.

Producer: Peter Fudakowski
Year: 2005
Director: Gavin Hood
Writers: Gavin Hood

(spoiler alert)


Farrell, J. The Siege of Krishnapur

In the Spring of 1857, with India on the brink of a violent and bloody mutiny, Krishnapur is a remote town on the vast North Indian plain. For the British there, life is orderly and genteel. Then the sepoys at the nearest military cantonment rise in revolt and the British community retreats with shock into the Residency. They prepare to fight for their lives with what weapons they can muster.

Author: Farrell, J.G.
Title: The Siege of Krishnapur
Publisher: Phoenix Paperbacks
Year:  1996
ISBN: 1857994914

Viewer Comments:


I found this book really fascinating, and a gripping read! It tells two parallel stories (if not more). One is the story of the rivalry between two doctors – one who believes in the miasma theory of disease and the other in the germ theory of disease – and the consequences in how their patients are treated, and even whether they survive, during a cholera epidemic. The other story is about the people – and the disintegration of the previously rigid Anglo-Victorian society – living in Krishnapur when it is under seige.

Conrad, J. Heart of Darkness

Loosely based on an experience in Joseph Conrad’s life, Heart of Darkness tells the story of one man’s journey into darkest Africa–and the darkness of the human heart. Both thoughtful and compelling, Heart of Darkness takes measure of “the thin line between civilization and barbarity.”

Publisher: Peterborough, Ont. : Broadview Press
Year: 1999
ISBN: 1551113074