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All White in Barking

Incisive, surprisingly upbeat docu "All White in Barking" weaves together stories of assorted residents living in the rundown Blighty burg of the title.

Incisive, surprisingly upbeat docu “All White in Barking” weaves together stories of assorted residents living in the rundown Blighty burg of the title, where fast rising immigration has coincided with a far-right backlash. Although several of the subjects interviewed express obnoxious racist opinions, experienced doc-helmer Marc Isaacs (“Calais: The Last Border”) refrains from demonizing anyone here, and instead crafts a communal portrait infused with compassion. Low-budget production values will, however, restrict pic to fests and TV auds within a 500-mile radius of Barking itself.

Pic’s most endearing strand follows working-class white couple Jeff and Susan, who say they would prefer to live near “their own kind.” With some hesitation, they accept a dinner invitation from their Nigerian neighbors and find the food not only palatable but the company friendly. Polish Jew Monty enjoys a complex, apparently asexual relationship with his carer, Nigerian Betty, and defies disparaging looks when he brings her to a reunion of fellow Holocaust survivors. Dave, on the other hand, remains an unreconstructed racist, despite the fact that the grandson he adores is mixed race. Editing is fluid, and lensing serviceable, although sound on version caught was poor.

All White in Barking

U.K.

Production: A BBC Storyville, Bungalow Town Prods. presentation. (International sales: Bungalow Town Prods., Shoreham-by-Sea, U.K.) Produced by Rachel Wexler. Executive producer, Nick Fraser. Directed by Marc Isaacs.

Crew: Camera (color, digital), Isaacs; editor, David Charap; music, Michel Duvoisin. Reviewed on DVD, Hoveton, U.K., Dec. 11, 2007. (In Intl. Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam -- competing. Also in Sheffield Doc/Fest.) Running time: 73 MIN.

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