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With its soulful soundtrack – with Funkadelic, X-Ray Spex, Parliament, Sylvester and more – and enthusiastic young cast, Cannes Critics’ Week prize-winner Young Soul Rebels is an engaging and sensitive drama from acclaimed artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien.
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. But social and sexual tensions in the community reach boiling point following the murder of a local black gay man.
The film centres aorund the story of two friends Soul boys Chris (Valentine Nonyela) and Caz (Mo Sesay) who run a pirate radio station from a tower block in Dalston, East London including Chris’ sassy music-industry girlfriend Tracy (Sophie Okonedo) . This beautifully crafted period piece, a bold and stylish debut feature from Isaac Julien, paints a convincing picture of late-'70s London. The city is a carefully mapped out social landscape, open to all but offering safety to none, as we are taken to a Dalston barber, east London council estates festooned with Union Jacks, West End offices, soul clubs and city parks.