“A United Kingdom”, directed by Amma Asante, is a romantic historical drama that portrays a lesser known story of the social, political and legal aftermath of an interracial marriage.
In 1947, Sereste Khama (David Oyelowo), while heir to the throne of the tribal British protectorate Bechaunaland, marries a white woman Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) while studying in London. His marriage causes tremendous and varied controversy when he returns. Some of his people think he has betrayed their collective identity “as a people”, while others are persuaded by his progressive arguments about equality. But the British government fears his marriage will disrupt the apartheid society forming in South Africa (which gained independence in varying stages starting in 1910). Further, Sereste discovers that the Brits and other Europeans want to continue exploitation of future diamond or copper mines, under colonialist or mercantilist trade policies. (Maybe that rings a little harder now with Trump in office.)
It gets mean, as Sereste is exiled, first for five years, and then for life, even by Winston Churchill.
The film has some spectacular on-location photography of Botswana (an aerial view of a savannah town from a hill), and the real house the couple lived in was used for the film.
The post romantic film score composed by Patrick Doyle (Kenneth Branagh’s “Hamlet”, “Henry V”) is effective.
Typical scene in Botswana today (Wikipedia).
The title of the film seems ironic given the likely results of Brexit – that Scotland could break off the UK.
|Name:||“A United Kingdom“|
|Director, writer:||Amma Asante|
|When and how viewed:||AMC Shirlington, 2017/3/12, large audience (near sellout, afternoon, small auditorium)|
(Posted: Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 7:30 PM EDT)