Steve McQueen’s New Film on Police Brutality Will Open the London Film Festival

‘Mangrove’ tells the true story of racial injustice in 1970s Britain.

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The BFI London Film Festival is set to go ahead in spite of COVID-19 restrictions, and opening with the latest release from the acclaimed artist and 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen.

Mangrove is McQueen’s first film since 2018’s Widows, and follows the true story of the Mangrove 9, a group of Black activists who were tried for inciting a riot at a protest against police brutality in 1970. Their trial, which lasted for almost two months, became the first judicial acknowledgement of racially-motivated behaviour by the London Metropolitan police.

The adaptation for film stars Black Panther actress Letitia Wright, alongside Shaun Parkes and Malachi Kirby. It will premier at the festival on Wednesday October 7 as part of the 12-day programme of events, which will include physical and digital experiences to accommodate the U.K. lockdowns. Mangrove will form the first part of an anthology of films by McQueen called Small Axe, which will air later this year.

In a statement, McQueen said, “I couldn’t be happier that Mangrove will open this year’s BFI London Film Festival. Although the themes are universal, Mangrove is a London story. It may have happened fifty years ago, but it’s as relevant today as it was then.”

Check out the trailer for Mangrove above, and catch it this fall, when it will come to Amazon Prime Video. More information about the London Film Festival’s line-up can be found at its website.

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