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6 January 2022

Sooty and Sweep

by Syd Briscoe

Short Films: “The Chimney Swift” - 5 mins

Claustrophobia infects every frame of this evocative short film from directing duo Fabian & Fred. Accompanied by real statements from 19th Century sweeper masters, the film hearkens back to the bad old days when children as young as four could be forced into cramped, dangerous conditions to clean for the upper classes.

While the practice has been illegal in the UK since 1875, this film offers a stark reminder that, not only did it continue much longer in other countries, but in some parts of the world child enslavement and forced labour have never stopped.

Animator Rebecca Blocher brings scribbled, hand-drawn visuals to life here, embracing their imperfections like the dark nooks and crannies of soot, sweat, and fear. The chosen quotes offer an interesting perspective on generational trauma too, as one master admits he could only bring himself to be so cruel to other people's children

Director: Fabian & Fred
Animation: Rebecca Blöcher

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