Pride and Prejudiced: 5 Films on the British Empire

After the success of my other lists, I have been asked to do a list on films introducing people to the subject of the British Empire.

Tré Ventour-Griffiths

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Photo by Elaine Howlin on Unsplash

Everything I know about the British Empire has in-part, come from books by historians that have done the research. But more importantly, many of the stories I have learned have also come from the people that lived it. We tell ourselves that colonialism is this distant part of history that could not possibly impact us now. Yet, my family’s countries of Grenada and Jamaica were colonised by Britain and did not recieve independence until 1974 and 1966, respectively. My own father was born in 1970. Whilst in popular memory we relegate this concept of colonial rule to our Victorian and Georgian ancestors, for the colonised peoples, this morbid history is still within living memory.

Below I will talk about five films that people can use as a first step to aide in using as springboards into doing their own research on these topics. Whilst these films are dramatised or based on works of fiction, they are still worth watching. Additionally, the below list will not include narratives of transatlantic slavery. As I do think it’s important we discuss and educate ourselves on slavery, The Slave Trade is not the only example of British colonial rule. I will talk about chattle slavery in another post. Happy reading.

A Passage to India (1984) — Dir. David Lean (India, 1928)

Judy Davis is fab in this film (A Passage to India, Columbia Pictures)

Based on the early 20th century novel by E. M. Forster, A Passage to India and stage play of the same name by Santha Rama Rau, Passage follows a young Englishwoman Adela (Judy Davis) visiting her fiance — a British magistrate in a small Indian town. Travelling with her mother Mrs Moore (Peggy Ashcroft), they want to see India, not the tourists version of it, meeting the locals. Annoyed by British insistence that relations with the locals are not experienced, a friend introduces them to a Dr. Azis Ahmed (Victor Banerjee) Mrs Moore had briefly seen when she visited a mosque. After an…

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Tré Ventour-Griffiths

Award-Winning Educator | Creative | Public Historian-Sociologist | Speaks: Race, Neurodiversity, Film + TV, Black British History + more | #Autistic #Dyspraxic