Mary’s Room, a short film from director Moses Ssebandeke succeeds in its deft balance of the personal and the political.

Victoria is a young, black nurse, struggling with the experience of her first patient death. Although becoming a nurse has been a long standing ambition for her, she is suddenly faced with the dilemma of whether or not she is willing to intimately deal with death as a career. Victoria’s encounter with a new patient, Mary, herself a retired nurse, grounds Victoria’s story in a history of black women being asked to do incredibly taxing work for a nation that has exploited and mistreated them. Ssebandeke’s film has much in common with Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, in that it combines a grounded, kitchen-sink approach with a broader, more political message. Mary’s Room effectively scrutinises the way that services like the NHS, which are consistently neglected, take advantage of women like Mary and Victoria, whilst simultaneously trying to capitalise on the PR-friendly image of their diverse workforce. Contextualised within the current Windrush Scandal, Mary’s Room, which is full of humour and warmth, becomes a searing indictment of the UK’s treatment of its immigrant population. SSebanke’s empathetic characterisation, combined with an admirable sensitivity to socio-political concerns mark him as one to watch.


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