This is not because I grew up in a particularly violent place – not at all. I never felt safe on the streets because I was an object. An object about which or to which people could say or do more or less as they chose, and with impunity. I did not understand this at the time. Or if I understood it, it was normal. We objects, we just carried on, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, millions of us. We wore hotpants, thought we were liberated, worked in offices where single paragraph letters were dictated to us, as if we were the machines which would shortly be invented.
I was not a child in Victorian England (!) but I may as well have been. But hey that’s all history, now. We’ve moved on right?
I take my hat off to Keira Knightley. In a recent newspaper interview to promote her latest film Misbehaviour (2020 Dir. Philippa Lowthorpe) about the Women’s Liberation Movement and the 1970 Miss World contest. she said she was keen to work with more female directors. You go girl. But it may not be the path to awards heaven, however good you are.
In 2019 The Souvenir directed by Joanna Hogg starring Honor Swinton Byrne and Tom Burke. The film is a lavishly photographed, beautifully restrained, semi-auto-biographical story of a young film maker student and her relationship with an older, enigmatic man. It was completely ignored at the awards as were – from a directorial point of view – Greta Gerwig’s two films Ladybird (2017) and Little Women (2019) both starring the inimitable and profoundly talented Saoirse Ronan.
This year’s celebratory awards went to a macho spin off from a 1950s comic book glorifcation of violence (in the place where I grew up and in the time I grew up, I never felt safe on the streets) and the ultra violent, gruesome and in my eyes completely pointless Parasite which raised the spectre of equality to the level of ‘everybody dies’. In that at least it was accurate.
“Patriarchy kills off women and stories to maintain its power.”
And our film industry celebrates that. One of the ways it does this is by either completely ignoring, or at least failing to promote, stories about women told through the eyes of women.