Director: Alana Hicks
Cast: Mariah Alone, Wendy P. Mocke, Mia Evans Rorris, Greta Lee Jackson.
The art of telling a short story is one that is often underestimated. The natural assumption is that anything shorter must be easier, and in relation to physical activity that rule is normally the case. The same cannot be said when it comes to creativity. If you’ve read any of my previous work (and I mean ANY of it) you’ll know that condensing and summarising is not something that I’m proficient in. Take this intro for example; a long tangent about something vaguely related to what you’re about to read but not really. Yeah, that’s a speciality of mine.
Chicken on the other hand is the pinnacle of short storytelling – It’s self-aware, multi-layered and original. I honestly can’t speak more highly of this film. It is probably the most genius and entertaining story that I watched throughout all of London Film Festival (and I watched EVERYTHING).
What’s it about and why am I so excited to write about it you ask? (I know you didn’t ask, but just play along).
All Barbara wants to do is watch The Simpsons, but her recently migrated mum has just been overcharged at the local shops, and it’s up to Barbara to sort it out. As Usual.
I think the reason I connected with it so much is because it’s obvious that it comes from the mind of someone who was birthed in the placenta of that world. You don’t think to tell a story about a child having to speak up on behalf of their mother in such an anti-climactic setting (e.g. a supermarket) if you haven’t experienced it yourself. If you’re not a first generation diaspora child, you probably walk away from Chicken with more questions than answers, like “why does she need her child to help her fight her battles?” or “surely racism isn’t that constant and overbearing?”. If you’re someone like us, you watch it and think “yeah that sounds about right”. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve needed to help our parents with tasks that others might consider simple (e.g. dealing with customer complaints departments) and a lot of us have been actively playing this role since before adolescence.
Most of our parents moved to countries like The United States, The United Kingdom and Australia because they wanted a better life for their children. In doing so, they relinquished the ability that they once had to navigate in a world that was built for them, full of people that looked like them. In these foreign lands the system is built to prey on and take advantage of their unfamiliarity and lack of confidence.
There is nothing more painful than seeing your parent being preyed on and once you’re of age to do something about it, you’ll take every opportunity to put a stop to it. It just so happens that this age is a lot younger for us diaspora.
The mother-daughter dynamic between Rita (Wendy Mocke) and Barbara (Mariah Alone), beautifully shows the almost symbiotic bond that diaspora have with their parents. Rita is working long hours at a care home to make sure that she can provide food for her child, whilst Barbara takes care of everything outside of that so that Rita doesn’t have to worry about anything else.
When I wasn’t reminiscing about similar scenarios in my own life or conversations that I’d had with friends who’d also had these experiences, I was getting a real kick out of watching the whole thing. It’s not often that we get one over on the system and whether fictitious or not, it felt gooood!
If you want to see a visual representation of the words ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘micro aggressions’, You Should Be Watching Chicken. If you just want to have a laugh and watch a girl take on two Karen’s (and win), it’s good for that too!
I’ve got an interview coming up with the Director of this film, Alana Hicks. Her perspective on life is so refreshing and unique. It’s no surprise that a mind as amazing as hers is behind a story as amazing this. Hope you enjoy it!
Follow ‘Chicken Short Film’ on Facebook to find out where it’s screening next.
Can You Relate To Any Of These Experiences? Have You Seen Chicken? What Are Your Favourite Short Films?
As Usual Comments Are Encouraged!