The Last Tree
Written and directed by British filmmaker Shola Amoo (widely acclaimed for his 2016 multimedia debut A Moving Image), The Last Tree tells the moving, heartfelt semi-autobiographical story of a young man carving out an identity for himself in early 21st century London. While its storytelling (built around key life-changing moments) and lyrical quality of the filmmaking will inevitably draw comparisons with Moonlight, this is a work that deserves to stand on its own merit.
Femi, a British boy of Nigerian heritage, enjoys a happy childhood in Lincolnshire, where he is raised by doting foster mother Mary and surrounded by a tight-knit group of friends - until his real mum reclaims him and deposits him into a very different life in her small inner-London flat. With little emotional bond to his mother and no remembrance of their cultural heritage, Femi struggles to adapt. As he acclimates to his new environment, Femi hardens himself, pulling away from both of his mothers and forging ahead in an attempt to build his own identity.
Blistering performances by the two actors (Tai Golding and Sam Adewunmi, who play the central character at different ages) combined with a rich visual/aural style draws you into the heart of this conflicted young man's experience. The result is a fresh, unflinchingly unsentimental coming-of-age film that offers a timely and profoundly compelling study of Britishness and young black masculinity.
Information published by Leisure and Culture Dundee.
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