The Uncertain Kingdom
They say diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. In the wake of political tensions, still steeped in Brexit anxiety, The Uncertain Kingdom was born. A collection of 20 short films from a mixed group of filmmakers based throughout Britain, the selection is intended to reflect the UK as it is today. John Jenck, one of its creators, argues that the very problems we encounter now come from a misunderstanding of the experiences of others, and what better way to get a true sense of this than through film?
And the compilation does not disappoint. Each movie is a captivating and an entirely unique viewing experience. Beyond demonstrating the diversity of life within the United Kingdom, it also reflects the astounding breadth of British talent. Many of the films come with a message; from hard-hitting documentaries like Left Coast to the dramatised disappearance of a homeless man in Pavement, they tell tales of poverty in the UK that often go unseen. Others are focused on identity and ideas about belonging. The short but sweet We are not the Problem weaves an interesting plot into a simple but engaging animation, whereas What’s in a Name offers profound and poetic meditations on how our names define us. Outstanding cinematography in the emotive Motherland paints a poignant portrait of three Jamaican-born Brits who have been forcibly deported.
The Uncertain Kingdom is a brilliant mish-mash of filmmaking talent with powerful documentaries and dramas juxtaposed with surrealism and even comedy. Strong is Better than Angry and Verisimilitude offer interesting contributions to conversations about sexism and disability, while the imaginative and disturbing direction of The Life Tree gives pause for thought about the potential impact of plastic pollution. Even in its comic moments, the narratives say something about issues in Britain today. The hilariously bizarre Swan offers an amusing and satisfying satirical take on the Brexit debate, and the fantastically experimental The Conversation diverges from classic filmmaking to explore how interpretative dance can communicate a powerful story.
As a suite, The Uncertain Kingdom offers a fascinating window into the experiences and perspectives of people in modern-day Britain. In a time of upheaval and anger, these films offer a chance to dive into the lives of others and to really attempt to understand them. This is a thought-provoking collection of succinct and captivating shorts that truly complement each other through their differences – and this is perhaps the point they are trying to make.
The Uncertain Kingdom is released online on demand on 1st June 2020.
Watch the trailer for The Uncertain Kingdom here: