British music artist Ben Drew - better known as Plan B - presents his directorial debut "iLL Manors", a hard-hitting and graphic portrayal of London underclass.
CANNES, FRANCE (MAY 19, 2012) (REUTERS) -The directorial debut from British music artist Ben Drew, who goes by the stage name Plan B, was presented in 65th annual Cannes Film Festival on Saturday (May 19).
"iLL Manors" is a graphic portrayal of crime and its consequences that revolves around a series of events that interweave between characters and their narrative.
Speaking on the Croisette, Drew said that his movie - like his music - addresses issues that are uncomfortable but that need to be acknowledged.
"My music is always coming from a place, and this film came from a place where I want to talk about these issues because I feel that, no matter how negative they are, if we address them, talk about them, we can somehow learn from them. I don't think the film offers up a solution on how to deal with it but I definitely think it rings awareness to the subject matter," Drew said.
Featuring original music from Plan B, "iLL Manors" is Ben Drew's first film as director, starring Riz Ahmed, Ed Skrein, Natalie Press and Anouska Mond.
While the movie is uncompromising in its portrayal of drugs and violence, Drew maintains there are darkly comic moments.
"I just think that if I'm portraying life and I'm portraying life in that environment then, yeah, those negative things go on, like you know the violence and the crime. But then we all know in life, you're laughing one minute, you're crying the next. If I'm portraying life in a realistic way, then yeah, there needs to be some humour in it," he said.
Youth crime and anti-social behaviour has been a headline-grabbing issue in Britain, viscerally illustrated by the London riots in August last year. Drew said "iLL Manors" tries to get across the message that young people are trapped in a cycle of destruction because of their environment and the influence of their elders.
"As these kids go forward, they repeat that behaviour on other people that they love, or just people that they come across. They can't connect the dots and see that that behaviour is a product of how they've been treated," he said.
The title "iLL Manors" is the same as a record Drew released in March 2012, a song which deals with the 2011 London riots and which was described by Britain's Guardian newspaper as "the first great mainstream protest song in years".
"Manors is something that in the UK and London especially, you ask people what manor they're from and it means kind of area code. And so for me "iLL Manors" is like, I feel that we are all a product of our environment, you know what I mean. And if you live in a manor that is maybe kind of poorer than other areas then it has an effect on the way your whole persona, your whole character, the way you speak, the way you look. And that's why I felt that "iLL Manors" was the perfect title for this film," said Drew.
"iLL Manors" is released in the UK on June 6.