Two interlinked but distinct stories about hero worship and fatherhood echo one another in Nigerian-born, Blighty-based helmer Kevin Aduaka striking debut "Elvis Pelvis."
Two interlinked but distinct stories about hero worship and fatherhood echo one another in Nigerian-born, Blighty-based helmer Kevin Aduaka striking debut “Elvis Pelvis.” Pic’s oblique approach to storytelling, mix of monochrome and color, and fragmentary construction definitely make it one for the fest and arthouse circuit, but its impressive command of tonal shifts — bleak and bouncy, all shook up — announce the arrival of a talent to watch.
First half, “The Suit,” introduces an Afro-Caribbean family living in a shabby British apartment in the early ’80s. Stern father Tony abuses his wife Marcia and bullies son Elvis into impersonating his famous namesake, when the kid really digs Jimi Hendrix. In the second, less fluent section, “The Messiah,” a disturbed young man, also with a jones for Jimi, pretends to be the long-lost son of a dying patriarch. Black British milieu will inevitably invite comparisons to the work of helmer Isaac Julien, but Aduaka’s style owes as much to contempo experimentalists and older Brit kitchen-sink dramas, and even Gallic poeticism, perhaps due to the input of French production house Love Streams. Version caught lacked a cast list, but thesping is sturdy throughout.