Iggy LDN’s new short film is a tender portrayal of the realities of knife crime in the UK’s inner cities
Filmmaker Iggy LDN has released his new work Velvet, which is a soft name for a hard subject. The film’s title is deliberately detached from its storyline, which in Iggy’s typically poetic yet confrontational style, deals with the difficult topic of knife crime and violence in the UK’s inner cities. With this piece, he is also paying tribute to Harry Uzoka, the 25-year-old black male model who was stabbed in the heart and died in West London in January 2018.
The narrative centres around a mother and her teenage son. You cannot hear the dialogue between them. Instead music plays and the characters communicate via ballet-like dance moves. Knowing that she can’t control what happens outside her home, she tries to keep him from going out to meet his friends in what she worries is a dangerous neighbourhood. He persuades her to let him go out, after which her maternal intuition senses that harm has come to him.
Iggy has made a name for himself with his previous short films, Black Boys Don’t Cry, which challenges stereotypes of black masculinity, and Fatherhood, which delves into the experience of being a black father. Velvet continues his exploration of how young black people see themselves and conversely, how they are seen by society.
Iggy explains that he wanted to make the statistics about knife crime in London more relatable. “We forget to see these people as humans; as people who wanted to become someone or achieve something. I think it is important that we do not forget their lives because of the circumstances of their death,” he says. “It is also important to pay homage to the mothers who have done the very best to look after their children even in unfavourable circumstances.”
The mother and son in Velvet live on one of the capital’s many housing estates. Through the brief glimpse that Iggy gives of their lives, it is implied that the boy doesn’t have a father figure and the stern side of his mother’s attentions comes from her having to provide both love and protection. Their’s is a tender relationship too soon lost.
“We can sometimes forget some of the simpler and meaningful connections that we have created and I think art allows us to look at things in a completely different perspective,” Iggy adds. “I want to my work to explore different approaches to the way we solve some of the key issues within our society.”
Read about Fatherhood here.