To be ordered from ArtMattan Productions (www.africanfilm.com)
Director: Menelik Shabazz
A young British born black woman comes of age and begins to question her attitude to life previously influenced by middle class aspirations and a desire for security through marriage. She gains a greater awareness of herself, her identity and position in contemporary British society. Realisation of her status, in her personal relationships and within a racist society, gradually leads
her to political enlightenment and the possibility of responding to the problems and pressures she encounters.
The illusions being burnt are those of Pat Williams (Cassie McFarlane), an attractive 22-year old Black girl with a steady clerical job, her own little flat in West London, and the aim of settling down to a comfortable lower-middle class married life with Mr. Right. She is shaken out of this dream by Del, a feckless, disgruntled macho type (played with sullen charm by one of UK's best Black actors, Victor Romero), who moves in with her uninvited. He expects sex and food on demand and comes to regard the right side of the bed as his private preserve. The film explores first the growing tensions of the affair and then the girl's gradual realization that her aspirations are simply those that a white world has imposed upon her. Drawn into the world of'Africa' (and the realization of her own cultural background) and also one in which women are not mere chattels, looking for more chattels, she begins to see society more sharply.
105 min color 1981 United Kingdom English
Prod Co: British Film Institute.
Menelik Shabazz: Director, writer,
Roy Cornwall: photography
Cassie McFarlane, Victor Romero.
"Burning an Illusion powerfully evokes young Black lifestyles in the London eighties. It wants to show what it's like to live in Britain now." - City Limits
Also available on Umatic video and VHS.