The imagined words of CLR James to his compatriot Ulric Cross, “You were born in 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution… you were born into freedom,” set the scene for Hero.
It’s a film about the remarkable life and work of the little-known black Trinidadian airman, broadcaster, lawyer and diplomat. As an RAF Squadron Leader during the Second World War, he became the West Indies’ most decorated war veteran.
The film utilises archive footage, oral testimony and dramatic imaginative reconstruction to brilliantly bring to life the wider struggles of the Windrush generation against popular and institutional racism in Britain.
It also brings to life the fight for colonial liberation in Africa and the Caribbean in the aftermath of the Second World War.
There are one or two very slight historical anomalies.
But overall the film succeeds in using Cross’s life as a prism for telling the wider story of decolonisation.
It also tells the story of the lost dream of Pan-Africanism.
It features an all-star cast, bringing figures like George Padmore, CLR James, Amy Ashwood Garvey, Ras T Makonnen, WEB Du Bois, Kwame Nkrumah and Patrice Lumumba to the big screen.
This film has a limited release in Britain at the moment. Hopefully this will change. It is inspiring and deserves to make the biggest possible impact and attain the widest possible audience.
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