a short film by Dee Rees
2009 | 30 mins | US - UK
›› Colonial Gods
a powerful work on the ugly face of gentrification.
Colonial Gods by Dee Rees Winner of the inaugural IRIS Prize with her lesbian drama Pariah, here US writer and director Dee Rees, alongside cinematographer Bradford Young, once again triumph in delivering a work full of emotion and meaning.

Then again, Izi is a man of passion. Passionate about the displacement of his local community in Cardiff Bay, by way of their homes being demolished to prepare the now sought after land for a series of waterfront villas. As memories of many a migrant having been forcefully moved on in years not that long ago fill his mind, Izi is determined that things this time around are going to be different. And different they are too, in the form of the arrival of lodger Abdi; a young man who soon becomes politically aroused by Iziís call to arms, only for Abdi to learn that Iziís passions equally lie with a male lover. Yet as the bulldozers move ever closer to his home, is this one fight that Izi cannot win?

Colonial Gods by Dee Rees Starring Cornell John of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian fame and local actor Said Mohamed, this gripping drama is more than just the story of the friendship between two men of differing ethnic background; here of Somali and Nigerian origin. For Cardiff Bay is but the re-branding of Tiger Bay, a multicultural area of Wales that went on to see the birth of its most famous native resident, one Dame Shirley Bassey, only for this case of history repeating, to be more than what one man can take.

For here Rees wonderfully captures the heart and soul of a man fighting for his rights, that of social housing for the poor, against lush homes for the rich. It is a tale wonderfully played out by all, even if in the process the gay aspect of the piece, is all but cast to the wings. But then, such is not the only subplot that got lost in the narrative. Nevertheless, it remains a powerful work on the ugly face of gentrification and the real life issues that confront all too many in the society of today. Need more be said?

Gay Visibility - covert. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 
an IRIS Prize / Northstar Pictures co-production: premiered November 2009.
starring: Cornell John / Izi, Said Mohamed / Abdi, Mukhtar Yaro / Mr Achebe, Yakuba Bayi / Mr Togba,
Golda Rosheuvel / Suzanne, Jams Thomas / Mr Rowlands and Lee James as Iziís Lover.
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #355
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