A new feature-length film about the life of one of Brixton’s most illustrious residents will be released next month.
Every Cook Can Govern: the life, works and impact of C.L.R. James explores the life of the Trinidad-born revolutionary C.L.R. James who died 1989 while living in Brixton. You can see his blue plaque by the advice centre in Railton Road.
The film weaves previously unseen footage of James with testimony from people he knew and interviews with scholars of his life, work and politics.
James was an expert and thrilling writer on many things including colonialism, cricket, slavery, Marxism, Shakespeare and Moby Dick. His Black Jacobins – a history of the revolt of slaves in Haiti – has inspired millions. James was also a great journalist and essayist.
Film director Ceri Dingle said: “What emerges in this film through a challenging overview of James’ life is an understanding of what it meant to be an uncompromising revolutionary in the 20th century.”
Shot in Britain, Trinidad and the USA, the film benefited from the efforts of more than 200 volunteer researchers, transcribers, presenters and filmmakers.
“This film was crowd-funded, crowd-featured and crowd-filmed,” say the producers, doing credit to James’ conviction that “every cook can govern”.
The film is the culmination of a three-year project by the education charity WORLDwrite. It includes an online portal with filmed lectures, a timeline of James’ life and summaries of his work.
The film was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Trust for London and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and developed in partnership with the British Library, Museum of London, George Padmore Institute, People’s History Museum, Nelson Library, Banyan archives and University of the West Indies.