Following the release of his acclaimed Looking for Langston and the award-winning Derek on DVD – and as part of October’s Black History Month celebrations – the BFI releases Young Soul Rebels, the first feature by the Turner Prize-nominated artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien, on 26 October. The film features Oscar nominee Sophie Okonedo in her big screen debut.
In the long hot summer of 1977, London prepared for the Silver Jubilee celebrations to the sounds of the burgeoning punk, soul and funk scenes.
Soul boys Chris (Valentine Nonyela) and Caz (Mo Sesay), a pair of pirate radio DJs, broadcast their show from a friend’s garage, tussling with the local skinheads, and clubbing with Chris’s sassy music-industry girlfriend Tracy (Sophie Okonedo).
But social and sexual tensions in the community reach boiling point following the murder of a local black gay man. With its soulful soundtrack – Funkadelic, X-Ray Spex, Parliament, Sylvester and more – and enthusiastic young cast, this Cannes Critics’ Week prize-winner is an engaging and sensitive drama.
• Original trailer
• Illustrated colour booklet with newly commissioned preface by Isaac Julien, essay by author and historian Stephen Bourne, and extract from Diary of a Young Soul Rebel (BFI, 1991)