First shown at London’s East End Festival in June of 2017, Brexitannia was the very first documentary about Brexit.

Brexitannia (2017) is a superb documentary that is remarkable for its sensitivity, balance, and the ability to present deeply penetrating insights—without even a single word of narration. Countering the censorship regimes of post-liberal authoritarianism, this film is a channel for all sides to speak freely. It is not an activist film and thus does not rush to impose judgments or tell viewers what to think. Unlike Brexit: The Uncivil War, a commercial fictionalization that instructs viewers on what to think, Brexitannia lets the humanity of its subjects shine through in all their complexity.

We are presented with a great many “ordinary and everyday” persons, explaining why they chose to vote either to leave or remain in the EU, with some ambiguously transcending both positions. These people are wonderful: they can make one proud to be human, and to take courage from living among such humans. Viewers will likely be left wishing that they could spend time with some or all of the persons who appeared. These persons are, really without exception, all thoughtful, lively, articulate, reflective, sometimes quiet, sometimes very humorous—none convey that a major decision was taken lightly. As one review stated, using some of the words of the filmmaker: “Brexitannia, is a beautifully crafted, sobering snapshot of a country in turmoil. ‘A portrait of democracy in all its ugly glory,’ says Kelly”. By humanizing all sides of the debate, this film should encourage all sides to listen to each other carefully and with consideration, which would be one of the special gifts of a film like this one.

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