VOTD: ‘Robots of Brixton’

Much has been made of the upcoming robot revolution — in which the machines will take over and humans will be forced to serve as slaves or worse for our robot overlords, naturally — but filmmaker Kibwe Tavares imagines quite a different future for the machines in “Robots of Brixton.” In his short, robots have become second-class citizens, performing the menial labor that humans disdain and residing in a nasty, run-down part of London. When the police come knocking, tensions between the robots and the authorities come to an explosive climax. Watch the trailer after the jump.


[via Geeks are Sexy]

Tavares created “Robots of Brixton” to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the infamous Brixton riots of 1981, in which hundreds of local youths rebelled against the police. Called “Bloody Sunday” by TIME Magazine, the incident is considered one of the worst race riots ever to happen in the UK.

Social messages aside, I’m impressed by Tavares’ ability to create a richly detailed universe in his film, particularly in the early parts as he takes us through his eerie new Brixton. There’s a lived-in quality to the character and set design that gives the world texture and weight. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more of his work in the future.

Here’s the synopsis:

Brixton has degenerated into a disregarded area inhabited by London’s new robot workforce – robots built and designed to carry out all of the tasks which humans are no longer inclined to do. The mechanical population of Brixton has rocketed, resulting in unplanned, cheap and quick additions to the skyline.

The film follows the trials and tribulations of young robots surviving at the sharp end of inner city life, living the predictable existence of a populous hemmed in by poverty, disillusionment and mass unemployment. When the Police invade the one space which the robots can call their own, the fierce and strained relationship between the two sides explodes into an outbreak of violence echoing that of 1981.

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