Director: John Akomfrah
Produced: Lina Gopaul and David Lawson, Smoking Dogs Films
BAFTA nominee John Akomfrah and his production company Smoking Dogs explore a deep-rooted, darker history of the river and its connections to the slave trade. Their film transforms the landscape of the river into a 16th Century English port of exploration and an unfamiliar place on the African continent.
In the 16th Century, ships built on and sailing from the River Tamar journeyed to Africa, participating in the profitable slave trade and introducing the experience of African culture to Plymouth on their return. Exploring how we encountered “the other”,Tropikos juxtaposes the experience of the people, cultures and landscapes from Africa and the South West which, through the slave trade and its subsequent abolition, have formed a disparate yet shared heritage.
Using a range of narrative texts and stunning locations in the Tamar Valley and evoking characters from Elizabethan history, Tropikos gives a reimagined life and meaning to the ‘age of discovery’ and to characters who have been left to dwell in the archives of history.