Black is available in: French on Netflix Portugal
Mavela, 15 years old, is a Black Bronx. She falls madly in love with Marwan, an extremely charismatic member of a rival gang, the 1080s. The young couple is forced to make a brutal choice between gang loyalty and the love they have for one another. An impossible dilemma.
It is a Belgian version of the film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. But it is modernised and gangsterised crime-drama-romance. Sets in the present Brussels about the two black rivalry gangs, their dispute heats up further after discovering one of the members from each gang has fallen in love. In a result an ultimate gang fight undertakes and what comes after that is we all know it.
This is the most harsh version of the most beautiful romance tale. I meant not violently, though there are many fight sequences, but sexual contents were too strong. If you are a fan of the original work, then you might dislike the film. Because the portrayal of Juliet was so unpleasant which is realistic to the real underworld. But if you are a welcoming type, for the updated classical stories, then you will appreciate the effort. Yet it is more a gangster film than the romance. That’s why the title is very simple that does not reveal about the influence of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, unless you read it somewhere else like the film’s synopsis and trivia or the reviews.
Except it sets in the Belgian capital city, the actors, the directors all are not what I expected. I mean it does not give the Dutch/Flemish atmosphere, but like it happens in the middle-east. Since the focus was on the underworld gangs, all the film characters were African immigrants of mostly first and second generation, but the two different regional races, the Moroccans and the black Africans. The first half was not good as I hoped for, but got better after the most waited romance parts were emerged.
> “You were born here, but you’re still different.
> You will always be a foreigner.”
I did not get the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ vibe for this film, because it was not actually a revised version, but it roughly borrowed the original plot and nothing much. So you shouldn’t anticipate like the story you have known to appear in this film’s scenes. From all this, one thing you have to keep in mind before choosing it to watch is that it is not a family or the children friendly film, especially not a date movie.
I did not dislike it, but it should have been even better than the overall product. The actors were good and the production quality was much better. The story wise, this film holds no secrets or the twist, because we all know how it begins and ends, but the screen presentation was different with altered scenes and the characters including the locations. So there’s more to talk about the filmmaking than the story, except how different it is compared to the Shakespeare’s original narrative.
This film is one of those where I wanted to like it and rate it better, but I can’t for some reasons. The original was a love tragedy that connected with two feuded families, but this film became an ethnic issue that is not welcomed for the present world’s condition. For the art of filmmaking, it was a fine piece of work and for the entertainment’s sake, it is under acceptable limit, but for the morality what a film teaches these days’ youngsters is a mislead.
All the above, realism wins, because it looks like inspired by the real gang rivalries around the Brussels. To come to end on this kind of opinion only after I saw the film’s end report that came before the credits. So it is a good film, well, mostly decent, that’s what I think, but opinions differ from person to person. I am not suggesting it, but you may try it to learn what’s yours. And finally the end credit song was good.