Director Marcus Curvelo, Country: Brazil, 15 Mins
Two men in Bahia, Brazil, try to prove their UK ancestry to qualify for a small plot of land in the city’s finest location: the British Cemetery.
As entertaining as it is, British Boys shows how, even two hundred years later, those born and raised in the country of their birth are forgotten while a site for former slave traders is respected.
As one of our subjects states, he has nowhere to live, friends have died and struggled to be buried, yet if you are of British descent, you can get into the cemetery easily. The first person to reside at the cemetery was a notorious slave trader, a man who profited off the people of Brazil. So how can their country still respect such a man and many like him who have a grave there?
It is as fair a point as you will see, and despite the natural charisma of our two subjects, it is quite clear that this fact still positively stings them and rightly so. In a country like Brazil, how can the British, in a backwards way, still own a piece of their land? British Boys were surprised by how telling its direction was.
There is even time for the two to consider whether or not it is better for them to “give up” their own heritage just to get a plot buried there. As they venture out to see what their ancestors tell them, they have to accept that their own people clearly stigmatise such a search. If you are born in Brazil, be proud of it, do not give up your family’s past just because the view from that cemetery is better.
A very interesting documentary that shines an unexpected light on what it means to be someone from a land that was invaded generations ago and how those scars may never really heal within society.
Happiness is £4 Million
Directors: Weixi Chen and Kai Wei, Country: China, 27 minutes
An idealistic young journalist is tasked with profiling China’s biggest real estate speculator. But how can she write a profile about a man whose money-obsessed worldview she despises?
Our young journalist Cici is full of hope for her life and everything around it, so when her assignment to profile Ou comes about, it is possibly the worst and the best thing she can imagine. The best in that she can try and get into the mind of someone who, for all intents, is full of greed and only thinks of showing his wealth and wanting more of it. The worst comes to the fore in that with such a person comes mind games. For him to throw her off her purpose, lose the story, and fail.
Ou is a man who challenges everything, and rightly so. A bright man who dragged himself up from a one-room (not bedroom) apartment to a man who is as wealthy as we can imagine. Someone who can sit in a gorgeous apartment that overlooks the city and wish he had it so he could be happy and comfortable. The reason why this real estate mogul can’t? He has too many properties, and that point in his life where he could settle and be comfortable has long left him and maybe was never really there.
As Cici prods at him to give him tiny morsels of insights, we see how his sheer dogged determination has also been his own personal undoing. As we see in a rather telling scene, he is not close to his family other than his daughter. We also see how he goes on trips alone to these wonderful places but is unable or unwilling to trust someone else enough to be near him to enjoy it.
In comparison, Cici’s rather simple life has her happy. We see her smiling and enjoying things and only ever upset when Ou prods her or makes remarks about her naivety. It is a fascinating dynamic that Weixi Chen and Kai Wei have produced here in Happiness is £4 million.
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