5.9/10
298
9 user 7 critic

Young Soul Rebels (1991)

Set in London in 1977, the plot takes place against the background of the Silver Jubilee. This is a buddy movie between two friends Chris and Caz who run a pirate radio station from a tower... See full synopsis »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Valentine Nonyela ...
Chris
Mo Sesay ...
Caz
...
Ken
...
Ann
...
Tracy
...
Billibud
...
Davis
Debra Gillett ...
Jill
...
Carlton (as Eamon Walker)
James Bowers ...
Sparky
Billy Braham ...
Kelly
...
Bigsy
Danielle Scillitoe ...
Trish
Ray Shell ...
Jeff Kane
Nigel Harrison ...
Cid Man
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Storyline

Set in London in 1977, the plot takes place against the background of the Silver Jubilee. This is a buddy movie between two friends Chris and Caz who run a pirate radio station from a tower block in Dalston, East London. The film starts with a murder of their friend TJ while cruising for sex in the local park at night and, while Caz is cut up by the death of his friend, Chris seems to want to push forward towards a professional career in commercial radio. They both want to promote soul music while the prevailing popular music is punk.

Chris meets Tracy at the recording studio and persuades her to get his audition tape heard but he is not ready to sell out his identity to get a job in the mainstream. Caz meets a punk Billibud who talks about communism and the Socialist Workers Party, while wearing (admittedly nicked) Vivienne Westwood designer T-shirts. The murder and the different paths they seem to be taking causes tension between the buddies Chris and Caz.

Chris discovers that he has ...

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A seductive and engaging thriller from one of Britain's most innovative and provocative filmmakers

Genres:

Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and language | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

6 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La radio pirata  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First cinema feature of Sophie Okonedo. See more »


Soundtracks

Don't Let It Go To Your Head
Performed by Jean Carn
Licensed Courtesy of Philadelphia International Records
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User Reviews

 
Flawed, but from the heart.
25 June 2002 | by (Leicester) – See all my reviews

Firstly, lets get the negatives ironed out and set the record straight.

Yes, the plot gets a bit lost towards the end, yes some of the acting is questionable, yes some of the storyline is a little far fetched. If we judged every film we saw on those merits alone we'd be very shallow people! Thank heavens British Cinema gets away with making films like this, that represent British History, Culture and lifestyle in a non-conformist, sensitive and "path less trodden" view.

Yes it has a gay story line... and to correct another review only ONE of the two central characters is gay. What sets this film apart if we are discussing it within the genre of "Gay films" is that it tackles the delicate issue of men of Afro-Caribbean descent being gay in an interesting and uncompromising way. It doesn't pander to our expectations/stereotypical view of gay men, and utilises the sexuality angle as an integral part of the whole plot. "Jeffery" it aint! Nuff Said!

The whole story is set in the Summer of 1977 - the Queens Silver Jubilee. Chris & Caz run "Soul Patrol" - a pirate radio station that plays Jazz Funk - marginalised at the time by Punk and Reggae. One of their close friend's is murdered in the park, and Chris finds a piece of evidence as to who the killer is.

The film is Directed by Isaac Julien, who was shortlisted for a Turner Prize recently (2002) (A prestigious UK award within the art community) Julien has captured, by use of location (Dalston - East London) Lighting (capturing the hot summer of '77 perfectly) and Music (the soundtrack is a gem - Roy Ayers, Funkadelic, Blackbyrds etc) a mood and feeling that I've felt from no other film.

In some ways "Young Soul Rebels" was ahead of its time, and was badly marketed and has been aired very little since its release in 1991. Its "Celebration & Integration" message is how we now live, as a mixed race/sexuality culture here in the Major towns of the UK today... it seems such a shame to mis-label it "A gay film" when there is clearly more to it than that.


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