Hailed as Britain’s first black feature film, Pressure is a hard-hitting, honest document of the plight of disenchanted British-born black youths. Set in 1970s London, it tells the story of Tony, a bright school-leaver, son of West Indian immigrants, who finds himself torn between his parents’ church-going conformity and his brother’s Black Power militancy.
As his initially high hopes are repeatedly dashed – he cannot find work anywhere, potential employers treat him with suspicion because of his colour – his sense of alienation grows. In a bid to find a sense of belonging, he joins his black friends who, estranged from their submissive parents, seek a sense of purpose in the streets and in chases with the police. An angry but sincere and balanced film, Pressure deals with the identity struggles that children of immigrants have to face and Horace Ové makes the most of his combination of professional actors and local non-actors from the streets of London. (BFI)
In January 2015, the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research in collaboration with Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image held a symposium entitled A Tribute to Horace Ové. The symposium celebrated and analysed Ové’s significance for the history of British film and television as well as his contribution to debates about race and culture in Britain over the last four and a half decades. Speakers included: June Givanni, David Somerset, Peter Ansorge, Jim Hawkins, Gail Lewis, Ron Ramdin and Bill Schwarz. Chairs: Laura Mulvey, Janet McCabe, Yasmeen Narayan and Sasha Roseneil.
The video below is an introduction to Pressure given by Laura Mulvey and Julian Henriques.