STILLNESS is very much a London film.
On a surface level the film follows the day of a woman who is dealing with the consequences of her negligence. While in a cafe, she meets and has a conversation with a loved one which turns immediately sour.
The film stems from a poem written after the fire at Grenfell Tower. It poses the question of “what happens when someone who is responsible for your wellbeing has no intention of guaranteeing it?”.
It is a representation not recreation of the tragic events that occurred on the 14th of June 2017, at Grenfell Tower. The fire that broke out and stole the lives of 72+ people living in the 24 storey building. The building had been recently refurbished to suit a modern aesthetic, meanwhile little regard was placed on the residents, the safety of the renovation and the materials used.
Following the fire, blogs written by the Grenfell Action Group surfaced, showing that residents had been relentlessly contacting the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management (KCTMO) Organisation, to get their attention on fire safety regulations as early as 2013. One of the blogs from November 2016 reads “In the last twenty years and despite the terrifying power surge incident in 2013 and recent fire at Adair Tower, the residents of Grenfell Tower have received no proper fire safety instructions from the KCTMO. Residents were informed by a temporary notice stuck in the lift and one announcement in a recent regeneration newsletter that they should remain in their flats in the event of fire…The Grenfell Action Group predict that it won’t be long before the words of this blog come back to haunt the KCTMO management and we will do everything in our power to ensure that those in authority know how long and how appallingly our landlord has ignored their responsibility to ensure the heath and safety of their tenants and leaseholders.”
The film starts by showing us that we are in London, the streets, the red buses, shops such as Off Licence and William Hill. This story of grief is specific to London. A woman smokes outside a typical English café in the early morning, we don’t see her face, we just focus on the cigarette she holds, burning and lighting up as she takes a deep drag – symbolic. The woman who we follow and don’t see until 51 seconds into the film, is dressed neatly, prim and proper with nice bright colours. The idea that aesthetics and how “pretty” something looks does not mean there are no faults within. In relation to the tower this mirrors the highly flammable cladding that was used in the refurbishment to make it look more pleasing to eye.
The story is a commentary on how the nature of our society has come to be self serving. The warnings that were posed to KCTMO and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council were often ignored – they did what suited them or simply did nothing at all. Similar warnings are present in the film, as the narrative progresses it reveals a series of shocking truths.
While making this film both the director Kieran A.G Kiani and screenwriter Helena N. J Morais, tried to be as respectful as possible in telling a story that is filled with grief, pain and trauma. They felt deeply affected by it as they’ve both grown up in areas similar to what you’d find at Grenfell. As Londoners one thing that we hold highly is the unity within our communities.
Massive support and prayers go to the community of Grenfell and Ladbroke Grove where in moments such as these they have stood together without failure. Love and respect to all.
R.I.P 14/06/17 never forget:
Victoria King, Alexandra Atala, Amna Mahmud Idris, Gary Maunders, Rania Ibrahim, Hania Ibrahim, Fethia Ibrahim, Gloria Trevisan, Marci Gottardi, Fathia Ahmed, Abufars Ibrahim, Isra Ibrahim, Raymond “Moses” Bernard, Mohamed Saber Neda, Hesham Rahman, Nadia Choucair, Bassem Choucair, Mierna Choucair, Fatima Choucair, Zeinab Choucair, Sirria Choucair, Hashim Kedir, Nura Jemal, Firdows Hashim, Yahya Hashim, Yaqub Hashim, Logan Gomes, Abdulaziz El-Wahabi, Faouzia, Yasin, Nur Huda, Mehdi, Ligaya Moore, Khadija Saye, Mary Mendy, Jessica Urbano Ramirez, Farah Hamdan, Omar Belkadi, Malak, Tazmin, Leena, Mariem Elgwahry, Elsah Elgwahry, Mohamednur Tuccu, Amalahmedin Tuccu, Amaya Tuccu, Berkti Haftom, Biruk Haftom, Sakina Afrasahabi, Fatema Afrasahabi, Isaac Paulos, Khadija Khalloufi, Vincent Chiejina, Kamru Miah, Rabeya Begum, Mohammed Hamid, Mohammed Hanif, Husna Begum, Joseph Daniels, Deborah Lamprell, Majorie Vital, Ernie Vital, Shiela, Hamid Kani, Steve Power, Mohammed al-Haj Ali, Denis Murphy, Zainab Deen, Jeremiah Deen, Abdeslam Sebbar, Ali Yawar Jafari, Anthony Disson.
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