Welcome II the Terrordome

Welcome II the Terrordome ★★★★

I hope Criterion's eventual Blu-ray comes out soon as this Eventive stream seems to be a SD (VHS?) master. As a British film it seems unplaceable in location, it has British accents but then has American TV channels, jail cells and Malcolm X. But that ambiguity isn't necessarily a bad thing - American and British racism connect together in related ways, with a history of slavery and the ways Africa is exploited, the press and the denialism that racism even exists.

One could criticise the film's depiction of racism as too on the nose - but often, racism IS that explicit and not just hidden beneath the surface. While it purports to be a sci-fi dystopia, Welcome II the Terrordome feels like a depiction of Black reality - extrajudicial killings in custody by the police, vicious attacks for being in an interracial relationship, a fire of a school presented in the media as arson (but who knows the reality of the situation), corrupt cops who turn a blind eye to missing children and instead sexually harass residents, ghettoisation that ends up with children dying and shootings. It has something in common with Daughters of the Dust but also other Black cinema - a sense of return to the homeland and cultural tradition.

The film is low budget and seems to have been made on a soundstage without shooting on locations - but it's a necessity of an industry that often silences and disempowers Black voices.

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