Whilst everyone was celebrating Christmas like normal people, going to the Christmas markets for overly-expensive beer & food, watching pantos, or just sitting at home warm and cosy watching some Christmas classics, I chose to go to a film festival (I’m a film junkie, alright). Of course, even the season can’t keep me and my love for films apart, and the Anarchy Film Festival was something I had my eyes set on since the start of December.
The Anarchy Film Festival, developed by Elevate Young Minds, is A UK-based film festival that brings together the best international films created by young filmmakers. Delivered in Manchester (UK), Anarchy Film Festival engages with local audiences with a variety of films. Anarchy Film Festival focuses on bringing different cultures together through the art of cinema. Since its creation, the film has been used to share our stories, history, knowledge, ideas, and emotions. Elevate Young Minds, believe that film can be used to empower people.
This year we are looking to showcase films that show and/or discuss the following issues: Climate Change, Inequality, Mental Health, Poverty and Racism. Of course, there were a few different dates that I could attend, but the last screening was the one I was interested in the most. So, as always, this is me writing about my time, my thoughts and my verdict, so let’s get to it!
The Hip Hop Chip Shop
A mouthful of a name to say, The Hip Chop Chip Shop is located in Ancoats, and as the name suggests, it’s a fish and chip takeaway, but a Hip Hop themed one at that. Originally opened in 2018, The Hip Hop Chip Shop does more than just offer food. They also host numerous small events, including music, art exhibitions, talks & much more!
As part of the Anarchy Film festival, I got the choice of having a main dish and a dessert whilst I watched the films being played, which I found to be a nice way to settle down and relax. The food I will say is something different than you would see at any other chippy, and that’s what makes it so delicious – it’s creative in the way it is made and presented, and it’s something you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Apologies: I will note that there is a lack of food photography in this partial part as I…erm…ate it all when I got them and forgot to take photos (my bad, it was just too good – if you do want to see photos go to the Hip Hop Chip Shop website)! The dishes I had are as follows:
Meat Junkie and Chips – I’ll be honest, when I say I forgot what I had pre-ordered as my main for the event, I knew the name but not what the actual dish was. With that said, when I was served the dish, and I got stuck in, it was a nice little surprise. Meat Junkie is a spicy sausage surrounded by bacon in a crispy, battered shell, accompanied with some hand-cut chips and a mini saucepot of homemade curry. The chips were crisp, not too greasy, and a nice golden brown colour, which when paired with some classic ketchup, were absolutely killer. Of course, I used the curry sauce too – it had a tasty, tangy flavour to it. The Meat Junkie itself had a bit of a kick to it spice-wise, mixed with a sizable portion of meat and crunch that nearly had me full.
Double Vegan Chocolate Brownie – If you’ve never had a vegan brownie, you’re seriously missing out – which I was before I tried it! Not as rich or thick as I expected it to be, It was nice and crumbly, with the nuts added in giving it a nice crunch, which also complements the chocolatey taste well. Even without your normal ingredients like egg or milk, the brownie still tastes as a brownie should. The subtle warmth didn’t melt it too much, but made it a treat for a cold winter’s night. And of course, no brownie dessert isn’t complete without ice cream! Vegan, like its counterpart, the ice cream reminded me a little bit of sorbet with its texture, but its cold taste and consistency came into the room – what can I say. I certainly have a sweet tooth!
Anarchy Film Festival – The Films
Now onto my favourite part of this trip… the films of course (I see you shaking your heads in disappointment)! In total, there were 10 film entries from a very diverse range of international filmmakers. Whether it’s because these films touched on the subjects of race, mental health or objectification well, or the fact they were realistically darker & powerful, these films made the night worth it for me. I’m not going to list all the films, otherwise I’d obsess over how each of them was unique and different (which could be a great follow up piece – who knows!). So, I’ve compiled a small selection of the films I found the most interesting, that stood out to me and that I thought were overall powerful and well-made (Full listing of the films available on the Anarchy Film Festival page.
Yousef – A very interesting story on race, nationality and identity. The main narrative is that Yousef is a cook, and a very successful one at that. He is the son of immigrants, but was raised in Italy. After a very long wait, he managed to obtain Italian citizenship, a few days after the attack in Macerata. Yousef’s certainties begin to falter, leading him to a real identity crisis. It’s a generally quiet short film that focuses less on dialogue, and more on representation and visualisation, so when the talking does come into play, it’s important and written in for a reason.
Descent – Even if this wasn’t a film and was an advert I’d still watch it, simply because of how accurately it is done. Using drowning and being submerged in water in their little bubble as a very powerful metaphor for depression, director Helen Takkin represents the feeling as something that everyone can understand. Mix that with the cold environment, the Soviet-Esque architecture towering over, and a relief of an ending when aid is offered to the main character, and this personal story becomes quite a powerful message.
Tina and Sendy – This short was a lot more explicit and NSFW than the other films that are shown, considering it covers the subject of the adult industry. This film is a metaphor for power and dominance that gets in the way of women who could connect more strongly otherwise. Being told you are pretty and the casting directors like you is one thing, being told the opposite is another, and that’s exactly what happens here in this film. Ignore all the nudity and sexual exposure, and you are left with a film that shows how opportunity can be devised amongst friendship.
Clark – A film about grief, suicide and the feeling of failure, Clark is a powerful short film that grounds the reality of the superhero ideology, as well as cementing how even the fastest or strongest can’t save everyone. The differences between the two characters, Pietro and Clark, make for an important confrontation, with Clark torn between saving Pietro or saving someone called Laura. It’s a great example, and the ending of the film opens your mind more of why Pietro feels the way he is, expands more on the things he said, but also makes Clark realise maybe he can’t save him.
Overall Thoughts on Anarchy Film Festival
As one of the last events I attended by the end of 2021, it’s safe to say that the Anarchy Film Festival was a fun night. Although it may not be thriving with many people, it’s still a great event with some amazing films, food and atmosphere (which I hope to return to for their next event!).
Fancy more film articles? Why not have a read of my review for House of Gucci. Feeling in the mood for something more fiction? I got you – have a read of my article for the latest instalment in the matrix franchise, The Matrix Resurrections.