Why are world politics so fucked up right now? It’s a debate that can go around in circles until the end of time.
So with his sophomore film, Brexitannia, director Timothy George Kelly takes this question back to the people affected most by these rapid developments in global relations – everyday citizens. Travelling throughout the U.K. in the aftermath of the infamous Brexit vote, Kelly interviews dozens of folks, both from the “Leave” and “Remain” sides, to gain insight into why they voted the way they did.
Kelly understands that a lot of nuance got lost in the exhaustive media coverage that surrounded the June 2016 vote, so he just sets up his camera and lets the subjects talk. Every interviewee calmly puts their decision into context, exposing a number of anxiety-inducing factors weighing on Britons’ minds.
There is obviously a generational and racial divide, with middle-aged and older white Britons sanctimoniously explaining how great their country has always been but now immigrants are taking over and making it worse. Consequently, it gets somewhat exhausting at times listening to uninformed people trying to convince us of things that they clearly don’t fully understand. All you can do is roll your eyes.
Nevertheless, there’s a lot of food for thought here and the aesthetic of the film is gorgeous. Kelly shoots in stark black-and-white, representing the nature of the debate, while carefully composing each shot to backdrop the specific environment of the subject.
The film shifts at the end, closing on arguments from notable theorists such as Noam Chomsky and Saskia Sassen, to illuminate the forces that were actually at work to cause Brexit, and in turn, Donald Trump. It brings the film full circle while still leaving us agitated and once again asking why the world is so fucked up.