Amazon Prime has shared the first trailer for Steve McQueen’s upcoming anthology project “Small Axe,” which consists of films different films all directed by the “Shame” and “12 Years a Slave” Oscar winner. The first look footage below all comes from the installment “Mangrove.” Starring “Black Panther” favorite Letitia Wright, “Mangrove” is an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival and the New York Film Festival. “Small Axe” is McQueen’s first television project and “Mangrove” marks the first new McQueen footage to debut following the 2018 release of the director’s “Widows.”
Per an official Amazon synopsis, “Mangrove” tells the “true story of the Mangrove 9, a group of Black activists who clashed with London police during a protest march in 1970, and the highly publicized trial that followed. The trial was the first judicial acknowledgment of behavior motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police.” Starring opposite Wright is a cast that includes Shaun Parkes, Malachi Kirby, Rochenda Sandall, Jack Lowden, Sam Spruell, Gershwyn Eustache Jr., and Gary Beadle, among others. “Mangrove” was co-written by McQueen and Alastair Siddons.
The “Mangrove” trailer debut is a timely one, as Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the event in which the film is based on. On August 9, 1970, 150 protesters of West Indian, African, and South Asian heritage in Notting Hill marched to local police stations in protest of police harassment in their communities. Nine protest leaders were arrested and charged with incitement to riot: Frank Crichlow, Darcus Howe, Altheia Jones-LeCointe, Barbara Beese, Rupert Boyce, Rhodan Gordon, Anthony Innis, Rothwell Kentish, and Godfrey Millett.
“Sunday, August 9, is 50 years since the Mangrove March, which led to nine innocent Black women and men being arrested,” McQueen said in a statement accompanying the trailer debut. “It was a march necessitated by relentless police brutality in Notting Hill. To commemorate the bravery of these community activists and the nine who went on to be acquitted of incitement to riot with the judge citing ‘evidence of racial hatred,’ I am sharing the trailer of ‘Mangrove,’ one of five films to be released under the banner ‘Small Axe.’”
Amazon has yet to announce an official release date for “Mangrove” or the “Small Axe” anthology project. Watch the “Mangrove” trailer in the video below.