Cannes Hidden Gem: How 'Killing Boris Johnson' Was Born Out Of Rage But Hoping To Spark A Conversation

Cannes Hidden Gem: How ‘Killing Boris Johnson’ Was Born Out Of Rage But Hoping To Spark A Conversation

Given all that he has said and done (and not done) – a list far too long for this article – former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is a man who manages to provoke a wide range of opinions, many of which, perhaps understandably , negative. Having said that, a film titled Killing Boris Johnson he’s likely to raise at least a few eyebrows.

The short — part of the Cannes La Cinef selection — is from director Musa Alderson-Clarke and producer Solomon Golding, recent graduates of the UK’s National Film and Television School, and is notable for being the only UK student film to feature at the festival this year (selected from more than 2,000 entries). It is also quite possibly the only film which, as the name suggests, has as its central theme the death of a current head of state and politician who remains very much alive.

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“It’s inspired by my own life,” says Alderson-Clarke, who makes it clear — perhaps unnecessarily — that it’s not actually based on his own life. Conceived at the height of the COVID pandemic, Killing Boris Johnson follows the inner turmoil of Kaz (Shadrach Agozino), whose emotional state has been disrupted by the actions of Johnson’s government while harsh COVID restrictions were in place. In the wake of the infamous ‘Partygate’ scandal, during an investigation which revealed Johnson had attended illegal lockdown parties in Downing Street while others were told they could not even attend the funerals of loved ones, Kaz decides that Johnson should be held accountable and hatches a plan to kill him.

“I was dealing with my grief at the time,” says Alderson-Clarke, whose mother died during the pandemic. “I was annoyed by Boris Johnson, annoyed by the arrogance of it all and I wanted to make a film that captured that feeling.”

As a working-class man, Alderson-Clarke says Johnson’s seemingly above-the-law actions led to a “feeling of disenfranchisement.” And the Partygate revelations “put a nail in a coffin … how this man felt like he could get away with what he wanted and have that level of entitlement”.

While the title of the film may be among the most catchy in Cannes, Killing Boris Johnson it is less about the act of murder itself and instead presents a thought-provoking exploration of pain, anger and responsibility, seen through the eyes of the would-be killer.

“It’s about this guy’s emotional journey,” he says. “I think people come in expecting something, and I’d like them to leave after experiencing something else. That’s the goal.

As can be expected, Killing Boris Johnson has provoked some angry reactions from people who haven’t seen the film yet, some even calling for legal action against its creators. And that’s something Alderson-Clarke welcomes.

“I think it’s important for people to talk about it, because I’m open to hearing different perspectives and points of view on what the film means,” he says, adding that he hopes the film helps get people out of their echo chambers. , including his.

“The left only goes around with the left and wants to hear the views of the left, and it’s somewhat propped up by algorithms and social media,” he says. “But if this film leads me to talk to someone who maybe has a different political point of view than mine, I think that’s a good thing because, in the end, what happened with Boris Johnson didn’t just affect the left — it affected everyone in the country.