Future Voices (London Film Festival @ ICA)

The harrowing Future Voices collection portrayed a young generation of victims in a dystopia of the previous generation’s creation. In 3 Hours,(dir. Regan Hall) Hall recreates the massacre of a group of children as they play innocently in the desolate ruins of a war torn country. The eruption of violence bluntly foreshadows endless civil unrest – a nod to the cyclic nature of war and oppression.

Burn My Body’s (dir. Fyzal Boulifa) oppressed protagonist rebels against her Islamic culture in modern-day Britain. A zebra print hijab and the prevalence of crude popular culture proved effective stylistic nuances, depicting dual identity as naturally antagonistic. Assimilation towards ‘normative’ British behaviour leads to a dark exaggeration of both British and Islamic cultures. Similarly, The Park (dir. Destiny Ekaragha) is an engaging story exploring discrepancies between reality and image. The Park was a welcome set of role reversals. A self-coined lothario boasts promiscuity in order to disguise his own homosexuality as one third of a diffident group of inner-city teens. Each harbours secret shames shrouded in a litany of bravado, masks and misdirection.

Fascinating, albeit crass, Native Son challenged our perceptions of a gloomy psyche. Every-man John’s day progresses from an after-work pint to necrophilia in this perturbing and grotesque short. John is sympathised then abhorred. He is the concern of a community, and then hunted by a spade-wielding mob. Director Scott Graham succeeds in captivating an audience in observation of a character they share an unnerving affinity. Aghast and alienated, a commonality occurs: John longs for human contact and a tenderness of universal empathy; Native Son magnificently inspires the conflict. The recurring theme of alienation is echoed in Albatros (dir. Kim Albright), symbolising a fight with psychosis as a piano. A man is captive to his past and present, maddened by a claustrophobic and impeding world outside his own neuroses.

Vicious circles dominated over the Future Voices collection. The collection detailed conflicts of self-exploration with an unsettling reality. A heritage of horror and cultural tyranny trampled over ideology. Inherent pessimism provoked a crucial approach to exploring modern issues.

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