Written by Annie Hobson
One of the most talked about and pertinent films released in our generation and yet we’ve have been restricted from viewing it across 91 cinemas in the UK. Undoubtably, this has caused a tremendous outcry, but why am I not surprised with this decision?
‘Where you from?’
‘Where you from?’ A question we’re commonly asked in the presence of someone new, but one you wouldn’t necessarily consider intimidating. In light of these three words, Blue Story highlights the rivalry between two postcodes in south-east London. Based on film director Rapman, a reformed gangsters personal life experience, the film depicts the life of Timmy who attends school in Peckham and residences in Lewisham, two postcodes which are heavily associated with gang conflict. This animosity is heightened when an altercation sees Timmy and friend Marco compelled to join rival gangs in a street war, putting strain on their relationship.
Following its release on Friday, an incident took place at Vue Cinema in Birmingham on Saturday involving young children and the use of illegal weapons. In response to this, Vue pulled Blue Story from its screens across the UK, closely followed by Showcase, both solely directing the blame on the film itself. As established by West Midlands Police, this occurrence had no connection to the film and they did not recommend a ban to be implemented. Rapman responded ‘I hope that the blame is placed with the individuals and not an indictment of the film itself.’
Throughout the film there are scenes of violence, knife and gun crime but as supported by Rapman, it’s about love not war and communicates the message of hope, encouraging individuals that there is a way out. The film was produced for people to look beyond biased new stories of knife crime and aid the public to understand how easy it is for kids to lose their way in school. He wants to raise awareness and put programmes in place, offering children support and mentoring at a crucial development period in their lives. With Vue placing a ban on this, how do they expect the cycle of gang culture to reform?
It has been reported that such violence has also taken place at screenings of The Joker, Bohemian Rhapsody and The Dark Knight, but was there any suggestion for these films to be removed? No. Why is it that a film which portrays an incredibly realistic story of the world in which we live in, an issue devastatingly impacting the black community, is exposed to such scrutiny?
In response to their ban which they continue to stand by, Vue commented ‘Blue Story is a fantastic film and one with a very powerful message. It is a film that has the opportunity to change lives. We hope that Blue Story achieves the success it deserves and its message does not get lost.’
If it’s such a brilliant film with a ‘very powerful message’ and it has the ‘opportunity to change lives’, why are you hindering the communication of said message and restricting the platform for individuals to engage with such a meaningful and searingly relevant film? This argument is entirely misplaced.
I’m tired of institutional racism, I’m tired of this censorship and I’m tired of feeling unsurprised by such incidents in today’s society. This ban has increased my desire to watch the film and I will happily do so at another cinema branch, revoking any revenue to Vue, and I encourage you to do the same.