British doc-maker Marc Isaacs ponders the pot of gold at the end of the immigrant’s rainbow in this unusual, affecting film – presenting a handful of everyday but striking personalities who’ve settled in west London. It’s the A5 road, which stretches from Holyhead in Wales to Marble Arch in London and was the traditional route of the Irish coming to the capital by boat, rail and road, which offers Isaacs his starting point. But not all of his subjects are Irish, and this incisive, inquiring film travels where its subjects take it – even to the graveside.
Of the Irish, there’s young Keelta, new to the city, pulling pints in Cricklewood, and Billy, a retired labourer, unhappy and given to drink. We also meet 95-year-old Paula, a one-time refugee from Vienna; Iqbal, a hotel manager from Kashmir; and Brigitte, a German ex-air stewardess who still lives with her ex-husband. More than a film about immigration, this is a film about London – a city where journeys begin as often as they end and where life’s roads are far too unpredictable to be mapped.