The radical film review

The Uncertain Kingdom by Various; The Australian Dream directed by Daniel Gordon; Classics: The Happy Family co-written and directed by Muriel Box; Bicycle Thieves directed by Vittorio de Sica.

The Uncertain Kingdom

20 short films by various directors
and writers

237 minutes


The quiet opening film, Ellen Evans’ 13-minute Motherland, hits hard. An elderly man, dignified, deeply disappointed and bewildered, a ‘proud Black Britain’ of the Windrush generation, is marooned in Jamaica because the UK passport he’d held from his youth hadn’t allowed him re-entry to the country where he had spent almost his whole life.

Another powerfully understated doc, Carol Salter’s Left Coast, records, in the everyday work and chat of foodbank volunteers and clients, the humanity, kindness and solidarity that keeps life and soul together for many in austerity.

A couple of the dramas are brilliantly crafted and very powerful. In Ray Panthaki’s 20-minute Ernie a father bullies and humiliates his desperately withdrawn son. In Paul Frankl’s The Life Tree, a Colombian office cleaner struggles to look after her sick son.

The anthology, unusually, has no flops, and although a couple are very slight, and some force the issue, all have a point to make. ML

Available on Curzon Homes. iTunes, GooglePlay, Amazon, and some films free to view on BFIPlayer.

The Australian Dream

directed by Daniel Gordon,
written by Stan Grant

105 minutes


This is a documentary about a star player of Australian rules football. But don’t be put off – it’s also rousing, instructive and inspiring. It’s about Australian history and its society today; about how it feels to be racially abused as an individual, then to become the target of an orchestrated campaign. Not least, it’s about the coming together of people, and turning it around.

Exceptionally skilled, athletic and determined, Adam Goodes won the sport’s highest awards. In 2014, he became Australian of the Year. But the following season he quit the sport because of spectators’ loud, unremitting booing of him following a game when he had pointed out a spectator who had called him ‘an ape’ (see picture above).

The Australian Dream sheds light on a country that hasn’t dealt with its own history, and a grounded man who called it out. ML