Many would claim that the mark of good filmmaking, or of any art, is some kind of subtext; a message being expressed by the artist that requires some sort of analysis, some level of thought or investigation on the part of the viewer. This message may not be one the viewer agrees with, but it is always something that stirs the mind and creates a debate. It would be all too easy to claim that Adam Deacon's "Anuvahood" is devoid of any artistic merit not only due to its lack of any subtext or discernible intelligence, but also because it lacks narrative fluidity, realistic character development and any real purpose beyond exploiting its niche target audience and pilfering their cash at the box office. This film has not had a good reception. "The worst film of all time." "America gets Scorsese and DeNiro. We get Clarke and Deacon." Film critics loathed it. They walked out en masse at preview screenings. What's the betting that the majority of them were white, middle-class and considerable past the age of 20? This is not to say that I myself am none of these, but merely that films like Anuvahood have a very clear target audience, and to classify that audience as unintelligent or unworthy of entertainment is patronising and small-minded. No, what is needed to enjoy this film is not to be a member of this niche, but simply to have an appreciation of cultures other than your own. The cameos by urban British musicians, references to grime tracks, humour based on obscure slang and scene in-jokes. This is not a level of humour to be hated because it's juvenile or moronic. These same sorts of surreal references are made in plenty of respectable sitcoms and comedies. Those who choose to criticise a piece of entertainment so clearly not targeted at them simply don't understand it. I'm sure many young black people from urban areas will feel no connection or respect for Anuvahood, but that's because the target audience is not "black people" or "teenagers" or "city folk", it's a culture; those who love grime, UK funky, channel AKA, the Jazzie Show, Kidulthood, SBTV, Sidewinder, Eskimo Dance, speaking in slang, cotchin in the blocks. If you don't know what any of that meant, then this film was not for you. Do you critics not remember a time where your parents would bang on your door and ask you to turn that rubbish down? When they didn't understand what it was that made youth culture vibrant and exciting to you? When you grew up and the art you enjoyed in your youth became respectable with time and seemed superior to contemporary popular culture? Elvis' movies were awful. Clunky dialogue, wooden performances, weak narratives. A Hard Days Night and Yellow Submarine were hardly moments of cinematic triumph. But these films exist as documents of a time where the youth were excited and creative and made and enjoyed art that reflected their lives and sensibilities. The Beatles were told to cut their hair and turn it down. Elvis was told to stop being so goddamn sexy and sinful. Now Adam Deacon is being told to speak proper English and make a film about something film critics can relate to. Maybe for Anuvahood 2 we'll see him living in Hampstead and attempting to become a Guardian columnist to disastrous effect, or opening a vegan café in Primrose Hill so he can afford a holiday home in the Lake District. That is all.
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Kenneth (who likes to call himself Kay) begins to realise he's just another wannabe bad boy... even less than a loser in fact. After quitting his job at Laimsbury's, Kay vows to become a ...
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September 24, 2019