Directed by: #NathanGeering
Written by: #NathanGeering
A black man struggles with his position and sense of identity in modern society in this contemporarily relevant short film.
Still a Slave (2020) is directed, written by and stars Nathan Geering and with a running time of only five minutes, the film still manages to convey a powerful, thought-provoking message by reflecting on the Black Lives Matter movement. This pertinent topic of discussion is focused on through the lens of Geering’s vision and highlights the ways in which many black people in the UK still feel that they are slaves and is an artistic response to comments posted on social media undermining the movement.
The film is unique in its presentation, with a refreshing artistic portrayal of this sensitive theme through emotive poetry spoken in a voice over by Tashinga Matewe and starring a single performer with the prop of flaming rope dart to illustrate how people of colour feel trapped within society. Ryan Harston’s cinematography is wonderful, capturing the break of dawn (or dusk) and the lead’s contemplative, intense interaction with his environment and the fire dart beautifully. The film’s impact is strengthened by the closing credits indicating that the shooting location was Morecambe, one of Britain’s oldest slave ports, making the visuals and audio that came before all the more emotionally involving and striking. There is some distressing, disturbing imagery presented in the short and all five minutes are used effectively, with not a second wasted to communicate the harsh reality to hear about what it is really like to live in the UK as a black person, making for potent, gripping viewing.
Nathan Geering’s performance as the unnamed lead, who crawls from the sea and acts with the fire dart alongside the poetic narration, is equally as entrancing as the broody visuals. He demonstrates an impressive physicality with his interactions with the fire dart, performing many admirable movements and break dances, as well as allowing the rope to wrap around his body in an unsettling fashion as if being choked. The film’s ideology of black people feeling as if they are slaves within UK society is reflected on in the audio narration, however the main identification of this issue is symbolised and embodied by Geering himself as he fights the metaphorical and physical restraints society has imposed on him. It is an incredibly passionate performance and certainly leaves a significant impact once the film closes.
Still a Slave is by no means an easy watch, but it is not meant to be. The film’s original artistic vision through compelling poetry and entrancing, haunting visuals offer an emotionally involved contemplation on the identity and position of black people in modern society. This is a very relevant film that demands observance for the importance of its message and social commentary.