Random Acts: Miriam Elia

What would a rabbit have to say about the housing situation and other burning social issues? Find out in Elia's 'Britain’s New Underclass'

A giant rabbit chats to a journalist about her housing situation and what to do with her never-ending stream of bunnies as she chomps nonchalantly on carrots. Commissioned by Dazed & Confused, 'Britain’s New Underclass' is a wry mock-documentary screened as part of Random Acts, a new series that will show 260 three-minute films by new and established artists on Channel 4 over the year. Dazed Digital spoke to filmmaker Miriam Elia about what her short takes a shot at.

Dazed Digital: Do the rabbits represent a particular social group in the film?
Miriam Elia:
The rabbits represent a section of the underclass in contemporary society, but the film is also a parody of the way in which the media talks about this underclass. It's an attempt to satirise both the The Guardian and the Daily Mail's perspectives on this issue.

DD: Why did you choose rabbits to illustrate this?
Miriam Elia: Rabbits are cute, fluffy and appealing to most people, and yet they breed constantly and are considered a pest in many areas of the world. We wanted a creature that could be perceived as both an innocent victim and an irritant. The rabbit refuses to take responsibility for her life, partly because she's a rabbit, but also because sections of the media constantly cast her as a victim. She's willingly complicit in her victimhood, yet she is still a victim. On a basic level this film is about who should take moral responsibility.

DD: Are you focusing on a problem with people or a political issue?
Miriam Elia: I think this film discusses the relationship between personal motivations, government policy and media agendas. It's about both. It's important to note that we have chosen a character who lacks any real direction or ambition. We also hope to approach this in our next film, which follows druggy aristocratic urban foxes who move to Dalston to feel more authentic amongst 'ethnic' chickens. 

DD: How seriously are we to search for a message in the film?
Miriam Elia: There is not a specific message in this short. It is a broad attack on all the parties involved in this sensitive and complicated topic. We also think it's well funny.

Check out the Random Acts project page HERE and read our interview with the Chapman Brothers HERE. View 'Britain's New Underclass' HERE

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