The official trailer debuted today for Mangrove, one of five films featured in Small Axe, the highly anticipated anthology series from Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen (Hunger, 12 Years A Slave).
This Sunday, August 9th marks the 50th anniversary of the march of 150 protesters of West Indian, African and South Asian heritage in Notting Hill, West London who marched to local police stations in protest of police harassment in their communities including the Mangrove restaurant. Nine protest leaders were arrested and charged with incitement to riot: Frank Crichlow, Darcus Howe, Altheia Jones-LeCointe, Barbara Beese, Rupert Boyce, Rhodan Gordon, Anthony Innis, Rothwell Kentish and Godfrey Millett.
McQueen’s Mangrove tells this true story of the Mangrove 9, a group of Black activists who clashed with London police during a protest march in 1970, and the highly publicized trial that followed. The trial was the first judicial acknowledgment of behavior motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police. Letitia Wright (Black Panther), Shaun Parkes (Lost in Space), and Malachi Kirby (Curfew) star alongside Rochenda Sandall (Line of Duty), Jack Lowden (The Long Song), Sam Spruell (Snow White and the Huntsmen), Gershwyn Eustache Jnr (The Gentlemen), Nathaniel Martello-White (Collateral), Richie Campbell (Liar), Jumayn Hunter (Les Misérables), and Gary Beadle (Summer of Rockets). Mangrove was co-written by Alastair Siddons and Steve Steve McQueen.
“Sunday, August 9th, is 50 years since the Mangrove March, which led to nine innocent Black women and men being arrested. It was a march necessitated by relentless police brutality in Notting Hill. To commemorate the bravery of these community activists and the nine who went on to be acquitted of incitement to riot with the judge citing “evidence of racial hatred,” I am sharing the trailer of Mangrove, one of five films to be released under the banner Small Axe,” said Steve McQueen.
Small Axe is an anthology comprised of five original films set from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s that tell different stories involving London’s West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will despite rampant racism and discrimination. This title is derived from the African proverb, “If you are the big tree, we are the small axe.” The five films featured in addition to Mangrove are Lovers Rock, Alex Wheatle, Education and Red, White and Blue.
Mangrove and Lovers Rock were included in the Cannes 2020 Official Selection, while Mangrove, Lovers Rock, and Red, White, and Blue will premiere during this year’s 58th New York Film Festival.
It will premiere on Amazon Prime Video in the US later this year. The series is distributed internationally by BBC Studios.