Who Needs a Heart

Who Needs a Heart is a parable of political becoming and transformation. It explores the history of British black power through the fictional lives of a group of friends caught up in the metamorphoses of the movement’s central figure, the Trinidadian Michael Abdul Malik, formerly known as Michael X and christened Michael De Freitas. A largely silent film, the soundtrack (which includes John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman) investigates the expressionist potential of music to create the conditions for the movement of images.

Who Needs a Heart (1991)


United Kingdom






John Akomfrah

John Akomfrah

John Akomfrah

Born in Ghana and raised in the United Kingdom, John Akomfrah made his directorial debut with the acclaimed documentary Handsworth Songs in 1986. He has made over 30 films since, many examining issues of black British identity, including The Nine Muses (ttff/11). He is one of the founders of the seminal (and now-defunct) Black Audio Film Collective, and is a governor of the British Film Institute.

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