Director Steve McQueen is back with his new film Mangrove, which is part of a five-film series titled Small Axe that McQueen is overseeing for BBC Studios and Amazon. McQueen personally directed Mangrove, which is based on the true story of 150 protestors who marched to local police stations to protest police harassment in their communities. The film tells the story of the Mangrove 9, Black activists who clashed with the London police during a protest march in 1970 and the trial that followed.
A new McQueen movie is obviously cause for excitement, and given the subject matter of protests against racial injustice in policing, I hope this film will get some attention. While I wish all McQueen movies would get some love (see Widows!), this one definitely deserves an audience when it arrives on Amazon Prime Video later this year.
Check out the Mangrove trailer below. The film stars Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, and Malachi Kirby.
Here’s the official synopsis for Mangrove:
This Sunday, August 9th marks the 50th anniversary of the march of 150 protesters of West Indian, African and South Asian heritage in Notting Hill, West London who marched to local police stations in protest of police harassment in their communities including the Mangrove restaurant. Nine protest leaders were arrested and charged with incitement to riot: Frank Crichlow, Darcus Howe, Altheia Jones-LeCointe, Barbara Beese, Rupert Boyce, Rhodan Gordon, Anthony Innis, Rothwell Kentish and Godfrey Millett.
McQueen’s Mangrove tells this true story of the Mangrove 9, a group of Black activists who clashed with London police during a protest march in 1970, and the highly publicized trial that followed. The trial was the first judicial acknowledgment of behavior motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police. Letitia Wright (Black Panther), Shaun Parkes (Lost in Space), and Malachi Kirby (Curfew) star alongside Rochenda Sandall (Line of Duty), Jack Lowden (The Long Song), Sam Spruell (Snow White and the Huntsmen), Gershwyn Eustache Jnr (The Gentlemen), Nathaniel Martello-White (Collateral), Richie Campbell (Liar), Jumayn Hunter (Les Misérables), and Gary Beadle (Summer of Rockets). Mangrove was co-written by Alastair Siddons and Steve Steve McQueen.
Small Axe is an anthology comprised of five original films set from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s that tell different stories involving London’s West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will despite rampant racism and discrimination. This title is derived from the African proverb, “If you are the big tree, we are the small axe.” The five films featured in addition to Mangrove are Lovers Rock, Alex Wheatle, Education and Red, White and Blue.