“Monochromatic” is set in Wood Green in London in 1977 and opens with a 6-year-old Black girl playing carefree, until the inevitable moment she realizes the world operates with bias when it comes to the color of her skin. We’re all born equal… then life happens.
The impactful film is the directorial debut of Justice League and Shameless star Karen Bryson MBE. It was selected to recently screen at the prestigious American Black Film Festival in Miami.
The young girl goes about her day, along with her mother, oblivious to the “other” treatment that she receives. In one segment, an older white man hurls insults at the girl and her mother.
Even in church, it is evident that the white parishioners want no part in practicing their beliefs, if they have to join hands.
Bryson’s aim for “Monochromatic” is to hold a mirror up, inviting an audience to ask questions of themselves. It touches on the concept of nurture, what we see and hear, consciously or unconsciously shape who we are, how we view the world and subsequently our own biases.
The film opens with displays of white power in London and real footage of a 1977 National Front (a far-right political party in the United Kingdom) March and ends with chants of Black Lives Matter.
Director Bryson’s award-winning career spans over 25 years; she was awarded an MBE in 2017 for her services to drama. This talented actress is best known for playing Avril Powell, in the critically acclaimed drama Shameless.
Her acting projects include a series regular in the award-winning Nordic drama White Wall, Black Narcisus (BBC and FX US), independent feature film REAL directed by Aki Omoshaybi, Elinor Stone in Zack Snyder’s Justice League (HBO MAX/Warner Brothers), Teacher (Channel 5) and most recently a series regular in The Split, Abi Morgan’s acclaimed legal drama BBC series.
Kenedy McCallam-Martin plays the young girl named Grace. Bryson plays the older Grace.
Producer Shakyra Dowling has been working as an Independent Casting Director for over two decades on Sundance, BAFTA, Berlinale and Oscar nominated films. She co-produced BFI Network funded short film Incompatible, directed by Maxine Peake.
The film is Executive Produced by David Harewood and Rajita Shah. The film is co-produced by Lorraine Bhattachary. The stunning cinematography was created by Tristan Chenais.
“Monochromatic” premiered at the British Urban Film Festival and received its North American premiere at the American Black Film Festival.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is the Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Crusader. She is a National Newspaper Publishers Association ‘Entertainment Writing’ award winner, contributor to “Rust Belt Chicago” and the author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood: South Side of Chicago.” For info, Old School Adventures from Englewood—South Side of Chicago (lulu.com).