Knife crime is a hot topic in London, a city that has already seen 100 homicides since the beginning of the year. When talking about violence figures become the main characters of the story, both because of the age of the people involved—youngsters aged 16-24—and because they provide a perspective of the problem. The same happens with media headlines and the related narrative which often limit the news to: gangs, inner cities, black youths, needy boys, etc. When summed up all together, these elements end up erasing the stories and the lives of the people involved. This is what strongly emerges from Iggy LDN’s latest work, Velvet. The 4-minute-film by the London-based director succeeds indeed in drawing a poetic and painful picture of those who are gone.
Let’s say it at once, it’s a very strong film, a punch in the stomach—also thanks to the musical score by Father and KWABS. It gives you goosebumps for its simplicity, for those family dynamics that almost all of us have gone through, for those silent words that we can listen to, for those free and rigid bodies that fluctuate, intertwine and separate in space; for the malaise and the pain that finally manifest in all their violence.
“Because of the way deaths have been portrayed in the media, a lot of people have therefore become desensitised. For many of us, these people were just names which added to statistics and political campaigns. We forget to see these people as humans; as people who wanted to become someone or achieve something. I think it is important that we do not forget their lives because of the circumstances of their death,” he says. “It is also important to pay homage to the mothers who have done the very best to look after their children even in unfavourable circumstances. I felt that I wanted this to change and that there be an emotional element brought back to the way we see knife crime and the loss of anyone within a community,” the director said.
The film is also a tribute to the 25-year-old Nigerian model Harry Uzoka—an inspirational character for the community and the team behind the film—who was stabbed by a rival model last January in London.
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