The streets of London burn

The streets of London burn

When the streets are capable of inventing their own language, it is not advisable to ignore the message. On August 6, 2011 the asphalt of the London suburb of Tottenham created one that had the sound of screaming, of struggle and despair in each of its words and enough social tweak so that the director debutante and television director British Jamie Jones decided to use it as the main base on which to build his debut feature: "Obedience." Through the asphyxiating account of the daily life of Leon, a 19-year-old boy who lives with the addictions of an emotional and vitally unarmed mother and with the violence of a house located in the hectic municipality of Hackney, northeast of London to silence any possibility of the future, Jones focuses with the magnifying glass of the denunciation the possible reasons that would explain and justify behaviors such as those that took place during that year. "Right-wing governments tell us that social unrest of this kind is generated by negative social attitudes or by pure and simple criminality. The riots lost control in what situations and some groups took advantage of the situation to commit crimes of all kinds, but many people belonging to poor communities tried and tried to stop the rioters, in the same way that it is curious that they did not he observed groups of middle-class youth running through the streets to take advantage of looting. There should also be a much deeper investigation into the reasons why many people in the most disadvantaged areas immediately set themselves up to set fire to the communities in which they live or that surround them, "says the director while adding that precisely This film is an attempt to analyze the problem with a broad and fair social perspective to be able to delve into the reasons for the general discontent that sometimes leads to the outbreak of similar disturbances.

An explosion of anger

Making perfect use of the freedom of expression that the license of the big screen grants him the British insists: "I think that the community in Tottenham endured a lot and for too long the fact of being ignored. People were really frustrated to see how the balance of power was in the hands of a group of people who did not listen to them and, above all, did not represent them. I think that, if a small group or society in general, begins to perceive that complaints made to the authority are ignored for a long time, in the end ends up rebelling.

What is a pity is that they do not direct their anger at the right strata of society, because later, as in the case of Brexit, for example, there is a risk that the meaning of the protest will be distorted ». The thread of attraction for socially committed and potentially claiming stories is something that in the particular case of Jamie Jones not only has not become entangled, but it lengthens and reinforces with each project that undertakes. As I showed three years ago with the short film «The Nest», where a young teenager tries to value her need for independence within the context of illegality in which she lives with her mother and siblings, or earlier in a extraordinary documentary for the BBC about the quarries of young British promises of amateur boxers, the breathing of the rupture of societies also becomes the main object of study of «Obedience».

But not in a methodical, analytical or excessively descriptive way, but from a real, emotional and sensitive plane that appeals to the identification of the spectator with the story of a story that belongs not only to the protagonist, but also to the one who knows how to look at it. Youth is another of the backbone of a film that shows in a genuine and realistic way an inexistence of both labor and vital alternatives in the British territory that manage to introduce the character of Leon, luminously played by the actor Marcus Rutherford, until the way of a despair that does not demand charity but opportunities.

Wasted Youth

The director is quite sensitive to this issue and admits to having constant concerns about it that inspire him to write stories like "Obedience": "I feel that youth is the future. Mira we presented the film in the past Festival of Seville and it was precisely the youth who sent us the most interesting questions, "he says.

The director also affirms that the current one is a much more progressive youth than that of the previous generation and denies the theory that ensures that as you get older you have more things to lose and therefore you become more conservative while highlighting that one of the The biggest problems that young people are currently facing is environmental awareness: "The most valuable thing that young people have to lose is their future and at the current moment that we are living, the environment occupies a primordial position to be able to secure it. . When it fails, we will all pay a price. We need to forget our tribal differences and push forward to save the environment.

Youth understands this better than anyone and has the possibility of finding their freedom by choosing the path they want, "he stresses. The exclusion of the social contract and the establishment of a debate on how to balance the economic gaps, are experiences that could well resemble those experienced by Jones himself as he confesses: "I was never in situations as bad as those lived Leon, but I have felt equally lost and frustrated. Coming from a working class family means not having the best education possible and that the doors of all sides were always firmly closed. But you know what? You have to keep them open, even hitting them. I have definitely put many of my frustrations in León. This has been a cathartic process ». With the help of a photograph by the Spaniard Albert Salas, masterly enough to have earned him recognition at the last Tribeca festival, the film exposes a social problem from the internal emotional conflict of the protagonist because in the words of the director: «this type of Conflicts are those that are truly capable of building the most interesting stories. It is the reason why Greek mythology and Shakespeare have had so much influence. All his characters are complex and rich, capable of doing good and evil. When you manage to create one like that, you can be sure of having a good story. The language invented by the streets shows in "Obedience" a tragedy that works as a beginning but not as a final one. As an honest and visual way of admitting that in the UK there is a problem and that "big ideas are needed if we want to solve it".


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