Part self-referential art experiment, part doc and part drama, Shola Amoo’s film A Moving Image examines the gentrification of Brixton through the lens of a female artist, Nina.
Nina (strongly played by Tanya Fear) is herself returning to Brixton, renting a snazzy loft, and making an art piece about the gentrification of Brixton, walking the streets, interviewing locals, taking pictures, asking questions.
She’s not entirely welcome – a local pressure group is particularly suspicious. Artist/actress/conscious bouji black girl Nina is part of the problem and, turning the camera on herself, she knows it. But what can she do about it? As one activist tells her, art doesn’t help any of the working class long-time Brixton residents who are now being evicted and priced out…
Amor might have taken a different approach, a straight doc, for example. Yet this angle brings in a fresh, personal impact and allows a bit more exploration, a multiplicity of viewpoints. Nina’s best idea is to reach out to other anti-gentrification groups, such in Berlin and New York and feature interviewees from Harlem, Bed-Stuy and Berlin.
Is there a wider conspiracy at play? The pattern of using artists to come in and occupy deserted spaces and the ‘infrastructure” they bring in terms of coffee, quinoa and kale… is it a natural occurrence of city life or is it a model being exploited and encouraged by developers world-wide?
Less successful in the movie, Nina has love troubles with an successful, white wide-boy actor from Bermondsey who’s just moved into Brixton because it’s “a good investment” and a tentative attraction with a pretentious black performance artist. These plot strands are about the only things in Brixton left underdeveloped, it seems.
Nevertheless, A Moving Image has a charming, open naivety in its simplicity but it also has heart and, in the story of Big Ben the local busker and megaphone guy, engages emotionally with the history and connections still palpable on the Brixton streets.