¬ 2000 ¬ FICTION ¬ Long métrage 93' ¬ 35mm
Trois jeunes Londoniens tentent de sortir un album de hip-hop. Un regard d’auteur sur la construction identitaire adolescente dans le Londres postcolonial d’aujourd’hui.
Inner city London is the backdrop of this un-idealistic exploration into the nature of friendship, identity and the fears within, which create a resistance to achieving our dreams. Through the story of three teenagers - Jamie aka Rage, G and T - in pursuit of a dream- to cut a Hip hop record, we witness the vulnerability of youth in the face of market forces, cultural colonialism and multiculturalism in a real society. Our protagonists’ many faces, an example of the masks we wear, of our inner truths and outer lies, will crumble with self-confrontations that will lead them to triumph in the face of adversity.
The first draft of RAGE was written in a four day fever as the whole idea was already mapped out in my mind in the process of two years of hanging around the Hip hop and Jazz Jam Session scene. Further drafts to hone the script followed. But I believe the speed in which the original draft was written imbued in the screenplay an energy and intensity which inevitably carries through to the movie.
RAGE is the cinema of now, vivid, unpretentious and uncompromising. No special effects, no “guns”, gratuitous sex or violence, just simple storytelling from within the inner vistas of emotions outwards. The raw feeling of the inner-city and of our protagonist’s London is glimpsed in the backdrop of their story. An credit sequence of an improvised Hip hop jam session which I shot a few years back as part of my research features real underground Rappers demonstrating their skills. This immediately sets the ambience, milieu and style of the film.
RAGE is steeped in hip hop, underground-Jazz and poetry culture these are only components which come together to paint a realistic portrait of our teenagers’ world. The soundtrack is made up of a collection of pre-recorded hip-hop, break-beats and skits which I have carefully chosen from a handful of underground cutting edge record labels like Ninja Tunes, Jazz Fudge, K’boro, Hombre et al. Renowned Hip hop Producer Mark B contributes also contributes a number of tracks. It also features live recorded Jazz club scenes. The final element of sound track is a live poetry scene with spoken word over breaks and Jazz. All these have come together to create a very original film with a driving soundtrack.
One of my main intentions from the outset was to cast relatively new actors to screen for the roles of RAGE, GODWIN and THOMAS. I was looking for three actors who to a major degree embody the characters. This will lend their performance the authenticity, depth and truth which I was looking for. I didn’t want actors who would act, I wanted them to be. From rigorous auditions we cast three young actors, FRASER AYRES (Speak Like a Child, It was an Accident, Intimacy), SHAUN PARKES (Human Traffic, Lock Stock (TV), Mummy 2) and JOHN PICKARD (2 Point 4 Children) for the roles of RAGE, GODWIN and THOMAS. RAGE was shot in London in the autumn of 98. I made a conscious decision to take a moderate sized crew along on the journey, this enabled me to keep the frenetic energy and pace which the film called for.
Stylistically RAGE is a film which has its own distinct look and feel by token of the way it was shot, i.e. under pressure, my personal connection to the story and the culture, the priority which I gave to story and actors’ performance over all else, and my relationship with director of photography Carlos Arango, a documentary cameraman. Carlos and I are major admirers of the films of the Italian Neo-Realists, Cassavetes, the French New Wave and recently Dogma 95, our main attraction being the idea of returning cinema to its essence, i.e. story and its interpretation by performance and technique serving to achieve this.
For me as a director, RAGE is a very personal story which I more or less lived in the process of making the film, from writing the screenplay four years ago to now. I completely understand and sympathise with the three protagonists and their struggle. I have tried very hard not to judge them. RAGE is a film with a universal interest that will appeal to anybody whoever had a dream.