'Killing Boris Johnson' sparks controversy over title; selected for Cannes

Boris Johnson is someone who manages to provoke a wild array of opinions.

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is someone who manages to provoke a wild array of opinions. Well, now he is the reason behind a short film titled ‘Killing Boris Johnson’ which is likely to raise a few eyebrows.

The short film – part of Cannes’ La Cinef selection – comes from director Musa Alderson-Clarke and producer Solomon Golding, recent graduates of the U.K.’ s National Film and Television School, and bares the distinction of being the only U.K. student film to feature in the festival this year, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

It’s also quite possibly the only film that, as the name suggests, has the death of a head of state, and a current politician who remains very much alive, as its central talking point.

“It’s inspired by my own life,” says Alderson-Clarke, who clarifies – maybe unnecessarily – that it’s not actually based on his own life. Conceived at the height of the COVID pandemic, Killing Boris Johnson follows the inner turmoil of Kaz (Shadrach Agozino), whose emotional state has been turned upside down by the actions of Johnson’s government while tough COVID restrictions were in place.

In the wake of the notorious ‘Partygate’ scandal, during an investigation of which it emerged that Johnson had attended illegal lockdown parties in Downing Street while others were told they couldn’t even attend the funerals of their own loved ones, Kaz decides that Johnson should be held accountable and devises a plan to kill him.

“I was coming to terms with my own grief during that time,” said Alderson-Clarke, quoted by The Hollywood Reporter. “I was annoyed at Boris Johnson, annoyed at the arrogance of it all and wanted to make a film that captured that feeling.”

As a working-class man, Alderson-Clarke said the seemingly above-the-law actions of Johnson led to a “feeling of disenfranchisement.” And the Partygate revelations “put a nail in a coffin…how this man kind of just felt like he could get away with whatever he wanted and have that level of entitlement.”

While the film’s title may be among the most attention-grabbing in Cannes, ‘Killing Boris Johnson’ is less about the murderous act in itself and instead, presents a thought-provoking exploration of grief, anger and accountability, seen through the eyes of the would-be assassin.

As might be expected, ‘Killing Boris Johnson’ has provoked some angry reactions from people who haven’t yet seen the film, some even demanding legal action against its creators.

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