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Riz Ahmed 'The Long Goodbye' by Aneil Karia

Rob Ulitski - 12th Mar 2020

Aneil Karia directs a harrowing narrative set in a dystopian Britain, for Riz Ahmed's The Long Goodbye. 

Taking place in a nondescript town in Surrey, we are introduced to a British South Asian family in a bustling household- one son is trying to teach his Dad -played by Ahmed- dance moves, whilst the other is cosied up on the sofa with his girlfriend, playing games and chilling out. Several other family members are spotted around the house, with a group of girls getting ready upstairs, and the grandfather trying his best to catch the news on the TV, amongst the flurry of activity. 

In the midst of the chaos, we see moments that are universally relatable - trying to manage different family members and their short tempers, moving furniture around to accommodate more people for a party. Small snapshots of everyday life to paint a picture of the family dynamic. Having stumbled around with an old chair for several minutes, to the dismay of several family members, Ahmed sets it down in a cramped room, before noticing an alarming scene unfolding across the road. 

In broad daylight, a group of white men in black uniforms are forceably removing people from their homes. The tone of the video shifts as Ahmed screams for everyone to run for cover, exclaiming "This is it. It's happening now". The uniformed gang catch up to Ahmed and his loved ones, in a truly haunting third-act.

This near-future dystopia is conceptualised brilliantly by director Aneil Karia, who won an MVA last year for his collaboration with Kano, and is known for his work on TV series such as Top Boy. Uncomfortable and confrontational, this isn't an overly exaggerated narrative with tonnes of creative license. This is one or two missteps into the future, the potential result of the current political climate and events such as the ongoing Windrush scandal. The surreal transition from happy family to mindless murder on the street is made only more harrowing given its basis in reality. 

DoP Stuart Bentley creates an authentic aesthetic through the use of natural daylight and documentary-style camera movement, succinctly matching the tone of the project. This is a concept very much based in the real world, and Bentley ensures the cinematography is as unobtrusive as possible. 

Karia is an exceptional talent bringing important stories to the forefront, and a perfect match to such a visceral concept and track. A one-take monologue at the end of the video depicts Ahmed rising with a newfound strength, confronting the camera directly with the deplorable reality that is staring us all in the face: “Don’t question us about our loyalty, our blood and sweat’s enough / Born under a sun that you made too hot for us / Kidnapped by Empire and diaspora fostered us.”

• Behind The Scenes feature on The Long Goodbye on WePresent

Rob Ulitski - 12th Mar 2020

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  • Drama
  • Narrative
  • Special projects
  • Alternative, Hip Hop
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Credits

Production/Creative

Director
Aneil Karia
Producer
Tom Gardner
Production Company
Executive Producer
Scott O'Donnell
Executive Producer
Tim Nash
Executive Producer
Sally Campbell
Executive Producer
Seth Wilson
Executive Producer
Saskia Whinney
Executive Producer
Caroline Reason
Production Manager
Maddy Perkins
1st AD
Hayley Williams

Camera

Director of Photography
Stuart Bentley

Lighting/Grip

Gaffer
Bill Rae Smith

Art

Production designer
Ruth Crawford
Production Assistant
Chloe Slattery

Wardrobe

Hair & Make-up
Lisa Mustafa
Costume designer
Holly Rebecca

Casting

Casting director
Shaheen Baig
Casting
Roxanne Farahmand
Stunt Co-ordinator
Marc Cass
Stunt Co-ordinator
John Street

Editorial

Editor
Amanda James
Editing company
Final Cut
Sound design
Paul Davies

Grading

Colourist
Simone Grattarola

VFX

Post production company
Time Based Arts

Misc

Concept
Aneil Karia
Concept
Riz Ahmed
Location Manager
Amrit Sahotay
Sound Recording
Nadine Richardson
Sound Recording
Andrew Stirk

Other credits

Riz

Riz Ahmed

Aminah

Hussina Raja

Dad: Javed Hashmi

Mum: Sudha Bhuchar

Karim: Rish Shah

Aisha: Ambreen Razia

Khadija: Taru Devani

Sana

Reynah Rita Oppal

Brother's friend: Nikkita Chadha

Fatima: Asmara Gabrielle

Farheen: Marissa Hussain

Nas: Leon Ung

Rob Ulitski - 12th Mar 2020

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