In 1981 Menelik Shabazz made ‘Burning an Illusion’, a landmark film about black London life. With this heartfelt, if rambling, niche doc, Shabazz takes us back to black youth culture of that time with a nostalgic look at Lover’s Rock – a romantic, vocal-led reggae sub-genre entirely British in origin. The scene’s most enduring tune is the mesmerising ‘Silly Games’ sung by Janet Kay, one of many musicians interviewed here. As well as remembering the music, Shabazz recalls the effect that this smoochy sound had on youngsters of the time and breaks up his talking-heads and archive format with sugary reconstructions of parties and chatty inserts from black comedians of that generation. A worthwhile film – but one for fans only.
Friday September 30 2011