- Menelik Shabazz
- United Kingdom
- 1h 41min
A pioneering first feature from Menelik Shabazz, Burning an Illusion marked a coming of age for Black British cinema. A film about transformation and identity, it is a love story that traces the emotional and political growth of a young Black couple in Thatcher’s London. It was the first British film to give a central voice to a Black woman, charting her journey to emotional maturity, emancipation, and political awakening. Pat Williams (Cassie McFarlane) is a London girl with a caring family, her own flat, and a job that she enjoys, who looks forward to settling down to a comfortable married life. Her dream is shattered when she meets Del (Victor Romero), a charming but vaguely discontented toolmaker, who soon moves in and then loses his job, causing them both to challenge their assumptions about each other and their aspirations.
Burning an Illusion is discussed in Sonic Register: British black womxn and onscreen performativity (a recorded conversation).