The first thing you notice about this project is its lack of colour. Is this a revert back to old ways; are we now stuck in a winding spiral that’s reversing its way through time, instead of advancing forward? At first glance and by using such a technique it would seem documentary Brexitannia is learning towards one view. Yet, this presents a carefully balanced exploration of how the nation felt after the referendum resulting in Brexit.
Split into two parts, in a similar fashion as our divided country on the day itself – The first being the people and the second, the experts. As someone carefully puts it, being a democracy has its perks but in turn makes everyone an expert and such a statement couldn’t be truer. We are lucky enough to live in a country that allows its people to vote for what they believe in and to some extent have a say, albeit we all know people who suddenly get on their high horse to spout politics just because they have seen a few media campaigns promising a ludicrous amount to the NHS and shipping the masses back to where they came from. Wherever you stand on the matter, expelling Europe from the UK became apparent and the country decided that’s exactly what they wanted to do.
A young white girl stands there and says, I’m voted to leave and I support UKIP. A black guy, mid-twenties stares at the camera and simply repeats the astonishing (out-right scary) fact that Donald Trump is the President over and over again, although has it even sunk in yet? An elderly English lady shares with us that she burst into tears when she heard we left the EU. A bunch of middle aged men, sat in a pub say they aren’t racist but they should go back to their own counties. Director Timothy George Kelly selected a wide range of people from all classes, ages and most importantly different cultures. From the get go this offers laughs, copious amounts of eye rolls and specific facts and figures that perhaps the most enlightened of us may not have even touched upon. The question that comes up numerous times is ‘What if I’m wrong’; what if I made the wrong decision – and then of course the shock of the result. When someone verbalises, ‘I didn’t think it would happened’ anger washes over as all you want to do is scream back at them and say, you voted therefore it happened.
As stated here, this debate didn’t come down to the core reasons as to why Britain should leave the EU it really became about one thing – immigration. The extreme views that are expressed were in the main because people didn’t fully understand the process, it all happened so quickly, so they panicked and voted leave. Others saw how people manipulate the benefit system and were blinkered to think it was just the foreigners that are taking advantage, but we all know the problem started at home. The lack of jobs supposedly taken away from the British when they are too proud to be working in Tesco or cleaning toilets – the list is endless. Then it came down to the horrendous verbal and physical abuse anyone who has a different skin colour other than white received just the day after Brexit. No one deserved that – as a nation, British should do better. Ultimately the people wanted change and this was the only way they thought they would get heard. Various things need to be addressed here and we can but hope Brexit won’t be a ruthless culling of everything that isn’t British.
Screened as part of the East End Film Festival, Brexitannia is an engaging and thought provoking series of viewpoints that will swim through your thoughts for some time after absorbing.