This time last year, Britain was recovering from the riots that raged through areas of the country. A police shooting and the protest that followed sparked a chain of events so brutal that it left a trail of destruction and fear we are still yet to come to terms with. Broken Britain. Was it ignorance, poverty, apathy or the fundamental breakdown of social values to blame? As throughout recent political history, the youth of Britain presented a large target for those looking find a reason for the hateful violence.
It is within this context that Tarun Thind looks to level the playing field, the youth culture. Set in urban London, Thind looks to highlight the fundamental injustices that loom large over them.
The story follows two silent friends who discover a harmonica and attract the unwanted attention of figures within the back streets of London.
The short running time means that we get the broadest brushstrokes of this London subculture – hoodies, tramps and threatening thugs. However, once finished, the film definitely warrants another viewing in order to tie together the relevance of certain scenes.
Each cultural assumption or injustice the protagonists encounter is subverted by Thind and while there are a few surprises the balance is never quite achieved between valid or unjust stereotyping by society. The silence of the main characters is a clever move, providing an intimidating undercurrent to even the most harmless of their actions.
English has already been included in the Offical Selections for the Mingella, Slough, Portobello and British Urban film festivals – indicating that we as a society are still interested in deconstructing the stereotypes surrounding the youth of Britain. The question is, do we have enough distance on the riots to be able to truly ponder the questions that Thind raises?