The Motherland

Created by Anderson West, The Pitch 2019

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The Motherland takes place in post-WW1 Liverpool before and during the race riots that occurred during June 1919. Our story follows Gideon, a Jamaican born seafarer, who was a war hero during WW1 after being "The Lion of No Man's Land". He has settled in Liverpool and is married to an English woman named Rosemary. Despite trying to move past the horrors of the war, he suffers from PTSD and wants nothing more than a life of peace. However, racial tensions are running high due to a lack of jobs, housing after the war and even anger at interracial relationships. The local white population, including demobilised soldiers, are starting to turn against the black community with frequent violent attacks. After being warned by several friends of an impending conflict, Gideon's loyalties during the war and PTSD from seeing many friends and foes die during the atrocities, hinder him from genuinely accepting the truth about what is taking place around. However, when one of his friends, John Johnson, is attacked and brutally beaten and his wife is threatened by rioters, he realises he has to make a stand and help defend his people.

Biblical Connection

The book of Judges tells the stories of the Israelites as transient people before they became a nation. The Israelites were persecuted and oppressed by the surrounding more powerful nations that took advantage of a people who were still finding their identity after years of slavery in Egypt. During this time of oppression based on race and nationality, different heroes or Judges were chosen by God to rise up and defend and Israelites. Each of these Judges reacted to their calling in different ways. With some such as Gideon doubting their calling at first, Samson, who fought for the ones he loved and others who had their own complicated responses to their calling. I want to explore the themes of national identity, racial injustice and duty. By setting the film in early 20th century Britain, I aim to show the parallels between the racial prejudice and oppression the Black population of the British Empire has endured, and the plight of the Israelites in the book of Judges.