The screening of the independent full-length feature The Naked Poet took place in London at BAFTA headquarters last night and is written and directed by actor Jason Barrett. Barrett also stars in the film alongside Aml Ameen, Michelle Gayle, Mohammed George, Michael Harvey, Kelle Bryan, Petra Letang, Kyla Frye and Fabrisio Santino.
The film centres on the naked poet Lazarus (Jason Barrett) and explores the relationships between his friends, family, lovers, dubious acquaintances and his fight to overcome past demons.
It also poses the following questions,
-Can a man be in love with more than one woman?
-Do the sins of the father visit the next generation?
-Do men and women really process love and sex differently?
All these issues and more are explored in this surprisingly good debut by Barrett. The Naked Poet is sharp, witty, sexy, deep and quite emotional at times. The audience can also really relate to the situations faced by the lead characters throughout the film (especially us ladies), and it was refreshing to see black males being depicted on screen doing something other than running around imposing/grim council estates engaging in negativity and generally acting like a pack of wild dogs.
My only issue with the The Naked Poet is that it seemed to drag on a bit at times and perhaps some scenes could have been shorter. For example a scene when Lazarus (who was brought up in the Christian faith but has now converted to Islam) enters a church, sits down and finds comfort and peace while listening to choir members practice a rousing hymn. This is an important scene but the long lingering shots of a visibly over emotional Lazarus and then of the choir members and then back to Lazarus again in my opinion did not need to be so long and drawn out to make an impact.
But other than that the cast each gave really strong performances and Barrett’s first ever film project is pretty impressive.
Well done to everyone involved!
The hope is to get The Naked Poet released in cinemas nationwide by the end of the year.
For more information about The Naked Poet visit: www.thenakedpoetfilm.com
Also check out Black Cinema Is Under Threat: www.thenakedpoetfilm.com/bcinema.htm