Brown Brit: a British Asian story

Random Acts: Brown Brit | Channel 4

Brown Brit is a short film by The Romantix (Jay Stephen and Ralph Briscoe) that follows Jay’s mother’s life, from her arranged marriage in India to her eventual life in London raising three kids. The pair spoke to It’s Nice That about the film and its origins:

“Seven hours is a ridiculously short amount of time to know someone before you have to marry them.” This narration courses through the opening of Brown Brit, before we learn that the film is an exploration of Jay’s mother’s experience. “It’s based on My Mother’s Metamorphosis; a published piece written by my sister [Ashica Stephen],” Jay shares. “It is a personal and emotional story that very few people know. Since Ashica wrote it over a decade ago, we always wanted to adapt it into a film,” she adds. Although it has a personal and familial focus, using old VHS tapes with footage of their mother, its tone masterfully leans on history which positions the film as a poignant account that anyone with the experience of arranged marriage can attest to. Inspired greatly by the concept of “chaos theory”, Jay shares, “which states that the delicate flutter of a butterfly’s wings can set off a chain reaction across the world”, the film zones in on a mother’s strength and actions that have been dramatically influenced over a sum of years, having a profound effect on the entire family’s lives.

On their Instagram, you can also see some side-by-side comparisons of footage that was filmed more recently to fill in the gaps but then converted to analogue to maintain the aesthetic. Definitely worth a watch.

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