If there’s one thing the British film and television industry loves to make – and the rest of the world loves to see – it’s a period drama with a cracking ensemble cast. This September, Sarah Gavron, the British director behind 2007-hit Brick Lane, brings us just that, prime awards season fodder in the form of Suffragette, a film set in early 20th Century England and starring a host of names including Carey Mulligan (Far From the Madding Crowd) and Meryl Streep.
The drama, which tracks the story of the early foot soldiers of the feminist movement has been written by BAFTA nominated tour-de-fource Abi Morgan (whose play Splendour is revived at the Donmar Warehouse this summer.)
Morgan’s story follows one such foot soldier in the fight for voting rights for women, a laundress named Maud (Mulligan). One amongst many mostly working women who had seen peaceful protest fail and felt forced to turn to violence as a way of achieving their goals, the film is set against the backdrop of an increasingly brutal state and hardening public opinion. The depiction of Maud’s fight for dignity looks to be a gripping and inspirational exploration of female empowerment in a patriarchic world.
Meryl Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst
Suffragette will be the first commercial feature to film inside the UK’s Houses of Parliament, and will also feature a cameo performance from Meryl Streep (Into the Woods) as heroine of the feminist movement Emmeline Pankhurst. In a recent interview, Streep described Suffragette as ‘stunning, because you cannot believe how recent this history was. How many civil-rights stories have you seen? You’ve never seen this movie about women.’
'Girls,’ she added, ‘we’ve been waiting for this.’
Suffragette comes at a time when many discussions in the film industry have been focused on the notable dearth of empowering female roles, particularly in Hollywood, and Suffragette's glittering cast of exceptional actresses now seems to suggest that the women are fighting back – in more ways than one.
British thespian talents Ben Whishaw (currently in Bakkhai at the Almeida) and Romola Garai (soon to star in Measure for Measure at the Young Vic) will also make screen appearances, along with the likes of Helena Bonham Carter (Cinderella) and Brendan Gleeson (Calvary). Composed by the unstoppable Alexandre Desplat (The Imitation Game) and shot by highly-talented A Single Man cinematographer Edu Grau (Suite Française), Suffragette looks to be a film to reflect the changing face of the female film industry.
Suffragette: UK release date
The British Film Institute have announced that Suffragette will premiere on opening night of the 2015 London Film Festival in October. Click here to watch the Suffragette trailer.
For a full list of our BFI London Film Festival highlights, click here.
Special Q&A Event
On 22 October there will be a one-off screening of Suffragette and director Q&A at Curzon Mayfair at 18:15. Click here to book tickets.
|Where||BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, Southbank, London, SE1 8XT | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
On 22 Oct 15, screening with director's Q&A
30 Oct 15 – 31 Dec 15, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here to go to book for the Q&A screening|