#75 – Rivers of Blood

(1970, UK, 48 min, b/w) Dir Ted Malcolm

Shot for the BBC and set in 1983 Malcolm’s film, as the title might suggest, takes as its starting point Enoch Powell’s infamous 1968 speech to hypothesise a right wing anti-immigration victory in British politics and what that would mean for Britain. This gritty docudrama crosscuts between footage of the Dover camps in 1983 as shot by a news crew of the time where West Indian and Pakistani deportees are interviewed and talking head sections where historians and politicians detail the mechanics of racialist policies both historically and contemporaneously. Notable by his absence, unsurprisingly, is Powell himself. Malcolm found himself following in his compatriot Peter Watkins’ docudrama footsteps in more ways than one with his film as it was not broadcast in the year of its making (an election year with a Tory win) but was instead “shelved indefinitely”. It has only been seen since as part of film festivals or retrospectives but, as of writing, has never screened nationally or been released on DVD or video. That could all change and were it to be belatedly released it would underline it’s continued relevance now that immigration has once again come to define British politics.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

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