Through revealing interviews, alternately shocking and humorous, this documentary profile of a white working-class community east of London offers a timely snapshot of an increasingly multicultural Britain. The racial composition of Barking is in rapid flux, with immigrants from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Balkans arriving and many longtime white residents leaving.
Filmmaker Marc Isaacs' funny and illuminating documentary gives a voice to people who feel that they are at the sharp end of multicultural Britain. Take a trip to the London borough of Barking and Dagenham, an area which has some of the highest levels of immigration in the country and where residents are struggling to come to terms with their new arrivals.
There we meet life-long residents Susan and Jeff who are encouraged to put their assumptions aside to welcome their new Nigerian neighbours. There's also Dave whose anger at the influx of immigrants has led him to campaign for the far right British Nationalist Party - despite both his daughters having non-white boyfriends. Meanwhile, Holocaust survivor Monty and African Betty form a close friendship, despite disapproving stares.
In this Storyville, Isaacs' gentle probing of these very different characters helps to paint a vivid picture of the attitudes and preconceptions at the heart of Modern Britain.
All White in Barking probes the attitudes of Barking's white residents toward their new neighbors, characterized by unexamined (and often comic) prejudices about their dress, religious beliefs, and strange cooking smells. There's Dave, a vocally racist BNP activist with a mixed-race grandson; the elderly Holocaust survivor Monty who lives with Nigerian immigrant Betty; and Susan and Jeff, lifetime Barking residents who have ignored their new Nigerian neighbors because "they are not our people."
When the white British couple accept an invitation to dinner from the African family, and later host a barbecue for their Nigerian and Albanian neighbors, the awkward encounters take on the air of a Mike Leigh comedy, revealing both the persistence as well as the gradual undermining of racial and ethnic stereotypes.
Visit the All White in Barking webpage at Icarus Films
This film is airing as part of Doc-Debut, a series on Link TV highlighting unique and groundbreaking international documentary films. Each week features the U.S. television premiere of a new foreign doc, offering American audiences unprecedented perspectives on world events and culture, as seen through the eyes of individuals across the globe. The series also provides a unique outlet for films by independent directors and producers to reach a much wider international audience.
DOC-DEBUT airs every Sunday at 8pm Pacific and every Saturday at 8pm Eastern.