DVD Review - Cal (Black History Month) - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DVD Review - Cal (Black History Month)


It might not make much sense to spotlight this film for Black History Month because there are no black people in it. However, there might be one exception. The star of this sequel, playing the titular character, is Wayne Virgo, a young, 20-something, well-fit boy who comes home to his mother's house in Bristol, England. Cal's mother is in the hospital and is a middle-age white woman. Yet, Cal, as illuminated in the bright and warm lights of the previous film Shank (2009), is not of pure white skin. His slightly darker skin tone could be explained away by tanning, but not his facial features and texture of hair. Virgo is most likely biracial. Therefore, that might make Cal biracial. Cal's mother is white, which would mean his father whom is never shown is most likely a black man. If Virgo's parentage isn't selfsame, then he's perhaps Arab or Middle-Eastern of some sort.

I point this out because some might assume that he's a white kid like all the others around him, but there are so many biracial people who are assumed to be white. Some such celebrities include Mariah Carey, Wentworth Miller, Vin Diesel, Derek Jeter and Carol Channing. However, even for Black History Month, it's perhaps important to take note that not having black skin doesn't mean one isn't black.

Even in the previous film, Cal is surrounded by all-white people, but if you look at his experiences, being part of a street gang and skipping school, and if you look at his experiences in this film, being unemployed and trying unsuccessfully to find a job, it's clear that his experience can be a mirror for many poor, black youths not only in England where this story is set but also in America where I'm observing it.

Writer-director Christian Martin never takes the opportunity to acknowledge race, neither Cal's nor the apparent race relations. Instead, Martin focuses on the anti-austerity protests in the UK, which have been analogous to the Occupy Wall Street protests in the USA, where often the protestors are colorless. Martin's film does make unemployment the chief issue at hand.

According to Pew Research, when it comes to unemployment in the USA, black people don't have jobs at a rate nearly twice that of white people. In an article for The Guardian newspaper, it reported that, percentage-wise, blacks are more out of work in the UK than the USA. Yet, Martin doesn't make this an overt factor in his film. When Cal goes to look for a job, on the surface, it appears to be due to a plot contrivance that his passport got stolen, which is the only identification he has since returning from Europe, but more resonance could have been found if it had been due to race.

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