Siren Spirits: White Men Are Cracking Up (1996)

Genres - Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama  |   Countries - UK  |  
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The quartet of short films for this British anthology, compiled by Women Make Movies, were all made for the British Film Institute and BBC Films in 1994. The central theme unifying them is death. In the first short, "White Men Are Cracking Up," from Ngozi Onwurah, several prominent British colonialists commit suicide. The detective assigned to the cases investigates and discovers that each of the deceased saw an enigmatic African woman perform a traditional dance. Pratibha Parmar directed the second vignette "Memsahib Rita," to chronicle the internal culture class suffered by a London girl with a British mother and a Sri Lankan father. In Dani Williamson'g "Get Me to the Crematorium on Time," a recently widowed middle-aged, financially comfortable black woman struggles to keep her sanity while trying to cope with her husband's death, finding comfort only by conversing with his ghost. Finally, in Frances-Anne Solomon's "Bideshi," a comatose middle-aged man from Bengal attempts to put his life affairs in order before leaving his injured body. His life flashes by in brief episodes beginning with his emigration to Britain. He then sees his daughter's birth and from there watches as she rebels, grows distant and prepares to have a black man's child, something that has caused a great rift between father and daughter. Still while drifting in sleep, the Bengali sends his spirit forth to make peace with her.

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Keywords

Black [race], Britain, colonialism, women