Stereotypes, assumptions, societal labelling, prejudice, racism, invisibility. This short film addresses so many issues that have become upsettingly swept beneath the carpet. Georgia Mulraine uses this platform to address some painful ambiguities with societal ideals, and raise awareness of such problematic presuppositions within her personal life and within wider UK history.
It is wonderfully autobiographical, with scattered inserts of memories, carefree childhood playfulness and intimate family photographs. Mulraine’s parents and family contribute their own anecdotes – the loving upbringing and tender stories that have moulded her into who she is today.
But Elephant in the Room delves deep beyond that, lifting the curtain onto her own family heritage whilst also commentating upon wider culture and societal expectations. It is her personal encounters with casual racism but also shining a light on systematic racism. It uses memory and personal experience to explore love and belonging within her familial bubble but also shows her exposure to hate when she is met with preconceived notions and bigotry when within public domains. The film is upbeat, fun and uplifting despite discussing such important themes, showing how such notions and hurt can be overcome when addressed, rectified and showcased.
It provides a voice to important issues such as her being judged by her appearance or her skin colour. She cites the underlying prejudices towards mixed race and black hair, that she is often assumed to love reggae music because she has braids, or that her hair is often touched without her consent.
The film provides a voice for these individual yet collective experiences of bigotry and reveals how such racism and stereotyping can impact one’s sense of self and cause confusion, distress and hurt. It creates the need for the world to hear and reflect upon such matters, to create change and accountability for such preconceptions, to raise awareness and make such subjects visible.
Spoken word, poetry, photographs, home video, music, dance and cinematography combine to create a film made from a spectrum of various art forms. Combined mediums make for compelling and moving storytelling, capturing our interest and not being afraid to be wonderfully personal and artistically anecdotal.
The short film also shows how representation within books and media is so important for young black people growing up, how it influences and impacts their own lives substantially and spreads knowledge and information to all audiences. It shows that we need more relevant and accurate representations within current publications, to erase ignorance and promote understanding and stamp out racial bias and prejudice. We need to address the elephant in the room.
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