Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Young Soul Rebels

Isaac Julien (1991)

United Kingdom

Genre: Music film
Genre: Youth film

 1977, during the week of the Queen's Silver Jubilee.  Chris and Caz,  close friends since childhood, are disc jockeys on a black pirate radio station called Soul Patrol, which broadcasts its 'funk' message from an East End garage.  They are shocked by the death of their friend TJ, who has been murdered while cruising the park by night, and Chris realises that a ghetto blaster found in the park by his little sister contains a recording of the killer's voice.

Police investigating the murder visit the garage and question its owners, Davis and Carlton.  Chris meanwhile talks his way into a commercial station, Metro Radio where he is refused a job but meets Tracy, a production assistant.  He invites her that night to The Crypt, a club where the Soul Patrol is featured.  The club turns out to be packed with black and white, gays and straight, and soul boys who are soon at loggerheads with the local punks.  Caz is disapproving of Tracy,  whom he sees as interfering with Chris's commitment to Soul Patrol.  Caz himself is attracted to a punk, billibud, and when the Soul Patrol duo split up at the end of the evening, Chris leaves with Tracy and Caz later meets Billibud in the park.

While they are installing a new aerial for the station, supplied by a white friend, Ken, Chris and Caz quarrel bitterly.  Caz starts working with Billibud and their relationship develops into a sexual one, as does Chris' with Tracy.  The police then arrest Chris for TJ's murder.  He is released with Tracy's help, but the Soul Patrol station is broken into and vandalised: the murderer, clearly, is aware of the evidence on the tape.

Afraid now for his life, Chris feels the absence of Caz.  At a "Stuff the Jubilee" concert in the park, Caz and Billibud are setting up their equipment when the arrival of National Front supporters results in a riot. Amidst the fire and violence, Caz and Chris finally confront and fight with TJ's murderer, Ken.  The two friends are reunited and Soul Patrol resumes the air.

 (Synopsis from BFI Screenonline website) 


Link to British Film Institute website

Link to Isaac Julien website

Posted by Claudia Sternberg on 14 May 2006 •





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