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Pretty Red Dress 15

Dionne Edwards, UK, 2022, 110m.

*Our screening on Sunday 18 June will be followed by a Q&A with director Dionne Edwards.

Travis has just been released from prison and it quickly becomes apparent that everything has changed while he’s been gone. While girlfriend Candice is on the up and auditioning to star in a musical, teenage daughter Kenisha is struggling in school and her relationship with her mum is tense. When Travis buys Candice her dream dress for an audition, rather than smoothing over the family’s problems, it ends up creating even more… As secrets and desires left unsaid threaten to spill out, Travis is forced to re-examine who he is and how he wants to be perceived in the world.

A debut feature from writer and director Dionne Edwards, Pretty Red Dress has breakthrough performances from Natey Jones (National Theatre Live: Small Island), newcomer Temilola Olatunbosun, and the chart-topping singer and West End actor Alexandra Burke in her first film role.

The Garden Cinema View:

Evidence perhaps, alongside Raine Allen Miller’s Rye Lane, of an emerging wave of South London-set films made by fresh (and female) voices. Pretty Red Dress is a sweet, funny, and very timely, exploration of black masculinity, brought to life by a superb central cast. Queerness emerges here as a universal sensibility, rather than something paradoxically binary. Also, it’s a musical!  

Natey Jones, Alexandra Burke, Temilola Olatunbosun

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