Classic: Burning An Illusion

Screening Dates:
Sun 24 October 2:30pm

PLEASE NOTE: This screening has a socially distanced seating plan.

Director: Menelik Shabazz
Starring: Cassie McFarlane, Victor Romero, Beverley Martin

The pioneering first feature from Menelik Shabazz, who sadly passed away this year, Burning An Illusion marked a coming of age for Black British cinema.

Released in 1981, the year which began with the tragic New Cross fire and triggered huge protests across central London, the film carries that spirit of resistance and, as the first British film to give a central voice to a Black woman, it is a landmark in British cinema history.

Through the love story of a young Black couple in Thatcher’s London, Burning An Illusion charts Pat Williams’ (Cassie McFarlane) journey to emotional maturity, emancipation, and political awakening.

Pat is a London girl with a caring family, her own flat, and a job that she enjoys. She’s looking forward to settling down to a comfortable married life.

But her dream is shattered when she meets Del (Victor Romero), a charming but discontented toolmaker. Del soon moves in, but when he loses his job, it forces both of them to challenge their assumptions about each other and their aspirations.


Shockwaves: The Best Emerging Filmmakers from Around the World has been made possible with support from Film Hub Midlands through funds from the National Lottery. Film Hub Midlands support people to watch, show, and make films in the Midlands.