Playing Away

Director: Horace Ove
Screenwriters: Caryl Phillips

Institute History

  • 1987 Sundance Film Festival


Recalling Saturday Night, Sunday Morning in tome and My Beautiful Laundrette in theme, Playing Away deals with the generally unknown subculture of England’s West Indians coming together with white rural inhabitants on a cricket field.

London’s West Indian cricket team, rejoicing in the name of the Brixton Conquistadores, is invited to play a match with friendly middle-class villagers deep in the charitable throes of a Third World Week.
The Conquistadores, are treated to a warm civic reception, but turn out to be not what the sedate villagers were expecting. Nor, in the event, are the villagers quite what the visiting West Indians expect them to be.

Playing Away is a very funny film about culture-shock within the bounds of a friendly cricket match. Some characters could have stepped out of the famed Ealing comedies, like the retired army general who briefs villagers on what to expect from the West Indians by showing them slides of Masai tribesmen. The village itself, a fictitious place called Sneddington, becomes a bitingly ironic setting for racial integration.

Screening Details

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