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Half The Picture: 0.006% of Hollywood Directors From BAME Backgrounds

“When you see the same kinds of stories over and over from the same perspective, it’s not representative of people living in society; women’s voices are certainly marginalised and women of colour are basically erased.” – Amy Adrion Half The Picture (2018), directed by Amy Adrion, comes at a pivotal moment for gender equality in Hollywood. Successful women directors tell the stories of their art, lives and careers in a film that doesn’t pull any punches about what the realities are for women in the industry, specifically in Hollywood. Nevertheless, it still manages to offer an inspiring sense of fight and hope and the first glimpse of a future that values women directors’ voices equally to those of men. Amy Adrion’s documentary feature began life being funded solely on credit cards, similar to many of us starting our projects, and gathered momentum as more interviews were conducted and finances were…

Depicting Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene’s history and existence are a long and complicated matter and she has remained a woman who is still the source of much speculation and rumour, so how did the writer of Mary Magdalene actually go about developing the screenplay and what were her sources of inspiration? Mary Magdalene has the reputation in Western Christianity as being a repentant prostitute or loose woman; however, these claims are not supported by the canonical gospels. The identity of Mary Magdalene is believed to have been merged with the identity of the unnamed sinner who anoints Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:36–50. From the New Testament, one can conclude that Mary of Magdala (her hometown, a village on the shore of the Sea of Galilee) was a leading figure among those attracted to Jesus. When the men in that company abandoned him at the hour of mortal danger, Mary of Magdala was one…

Billboards of Dissent

“Three Billboards Outside Missouri Ebbing” led to inspiring speeches by Frances McDormand as she and Sam Rockwell swept up Golden Globes, BAFTA’s, Oscar’s and gathered an army of fans, talk of inclusion causes as a matter of requirement for film projects and has also influence campaigners around the world. After waiting for months with no culprit’s being caught in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes buys up three billboard signs with a message aimed at William Willoughby, the town’s revered chief of police. The intended outcome is to draw attention to her daughter’s case and to provoke action from the sheriff’s office. Throughout the film, the billboards are constantly being destroyed and updated ultimately remain on the landscape whilst Mildred continues to seek out justice for her daughter. It’s this image that has inspired campaigners to use this tactic in their campaigns or justice. Billboards are being used to call…

The Making of Black Panther

Black Panther was the first black superhero in mainstream American comics when he debuted in the 1966 issue of The Fantastic Four and is the alter ego of T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, a mythical and technologically advanced African country. Today the Black Panther movie has had a four-day opening weekend of $200 million one of the best ever for Marvel, the movie industry (e.g. film director) predicted that it would comfortably reach the $900m mark after a worldwide release, more than 50 years after he first appeared. Originally a film version of the comic starring Wesley Snipes was scheduled as early as 1992, however, despite several attempts, a script never came to fruition, with further attempts to get the production of the ground never materialising. The comic was so popular amongst the young black population that it would really only be a matter of time before the film would…

The Greatest Showman and his Misfits

The Greatest Showman as presented by Hugh Jackman is the perfect antidote to January. Based on the life of P.T Barnum and his traveling circus, fizzling with colour, musical numbers that really only Hugh Jackman can deliver in his razzmatazz style and passion. We meet Barnum, orphaned at a young age rise above his adverse poverty to marry his childhood sweetheart and establish his circus company become very wealthy and rise up in society well to an extent. Despite his success, he isn’t fully accepted into the higher echelons of New York society and so his inner shortcoming is the desire to be seen as respectable and not just a well-oiled machine exploiting the “Freaks” that he has gathered and puts on display. Although of course, the Hollywood twist on this circus is opportunity and equality for all, unlikely to be the case in real life, but nevertheless a worthy…

Lady Bird & Diaries in Rehearsal

So we already know at this point that Lady Bird is the best-reviewed film of all time. But as a quick recap, it is a film about Christine an ambitious, bright and awkward, teenager, finding her way in life – a coming of age story in it’s most classic form, with great performances from Sairose Ronan and directed by Greta Gerwig. There’s a great deal written about the film already, but I was really struck by what an approachable and open person Greta came across as at a recent Q &A at Women in Film & TV (WFTV) at the Curzon Mayfair her understanding of the actor, story and the world she has brought us into is evident from the onset.  Greta recalled how as a teenager growing up she was asked to keep her diaries a secret so no one could see them, she immediately points out how it’s interesting that…

Guillermo’s Latest Monster in “The Shape of Water”

“Monsters are evangelical creatures for me. When I was a kid, monsters made me feel that I could fit somewhere, even if it was… an imaginary place where the grotesque and the abnormal were celebrated and accepted.” – Guillermo Del Toro. We enter the boring and mundane existence of Elisa (Hawkins) a voiceless orphan who communicates through sign language and is scraping together a living working as a cleaner in a top-secret government laboratory, where a range of dubious experiments are run. Elisa continues with her day to day routine until a suspicious delivery arrives and is housed in the chamber that she is responsible for cleaning.  The “delivery” is an unusual sea monster being studied by the FBI that Elisa fall’s in love with.  The film’s message of a  mute woman who falls for a captured sea monster is a tribute to outsiders of all kinds — a message that…

Blade Runner: Shooting “Tears in Rain”

As Blade Runner 2049 is released and before watching the next instalment I wanted to revisit this scene once again, which counts amongst one of the most iconic moment’s in cinematic history and that still stands the test of time. In a recent interview, Rutger Hauer discussed how the scene “Tears in Rain” came together to conclude the film and his character Roy’s journey. The collaborative environment that Ridley Scott created enabled performer’s to bring more input to the character’s and in this case the dialogue. Rutger was looking for what Roy felt and his experience of the world where he was being hunted for being an android, a place that eventually leaves him isolated and alone by the end of the movie. “Spirit, heart and soul” for the androids final moment’s was what he wanted,  Ridley agreed to take on whatever “you can add complexity, wickedness” as long he liked it, Rutger…

Columbus: Architecture and Love in a Modern Age

When a renowned architecture scholar falls suddenly ill during a speaking tour, his son Jin (John Cho) finds himself stranded in Columbus, Indiana – a small Midwestern city celebrated for its many significant modernist buildings. It is here that Jin also strikes up a friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a young architecture enthusiast who works at the local library. Their friendship leads to Jin and Casey exploring both the town and their conflicted emotions: Jin’s estranged relationship with his father, and Casey’s reluctance to leave Columbus and her mother. Whilst Casey shares her passion for the local architecture and the solace that she finds in the sometimes misplaced works of arts that are part of the landscape, hidden amongst petrol stations, malls and hospitals. Casey shows Jin the restorative power that architecture has had on her life, whilst helping her manage her dysfunctional relationship with her mother during her…

Abdul Kareem: Love and Monarchy

Abdul Kareem, Munshi, secretary and “loving son” to Queen Victoria is the subject of the film”Victoria and Albert”, little is known about the Queen’s final companion before her death, except perhaps the royal household’s discomfort at their closeness. Abdul Kareem was born near Jhansi in British India, the son of a hospital assistant. In 1887, Victoria’s Golden Jubilee year, he was one of two Indians selected to become servants to the Queen Victoria, who came to like him a great deal and gave him the title of “Munshi”, an Urdu word often translated as “clerk” or “teacher”. According to Abdul Kareem’s biographer Sushila Anand, Queen Victoria’s own letters testify that “her discussions with the Munshi were wide-ranging—philosophical, political and practical. Both head and heart were engaged. There is no doubt that Queen Victoria found in Abdul Kareem a connection with the world that was fascinatingly alien, and a confidant who…