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Underwire Festival, 2017: Men by Women and Thrillrides

Underwire, the UK’s largest film festival dedicated solely to screening the work of talented women, targets the gender disparity apparent in the British film industry. Founded in 2010, Gabriella Apicella and Gemma Mitchell have created a wonderful celebration of work, simultaneously addressing issues of sexism and showcasing female work in a welcoming, socially-aware environment. I wrote about some of my favourite shorts showcased at the recent event.

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Gerald’s Game (2017)

From the initial Netflix description of Mike Flanagan’s latest film, you’d be forgiven for assuming Gerald’s Game is merely a second-rate horror flick to be avoided. But don’t let bad marketing fool you into missing out on a brilliant, thought-provoking film. After the quiet critical success of previous releases Hush (2016) and Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016), Flanagan is quickly establishing himself as an important voice in horror, one not to be ignored. His latest venture, a Stephen King adaptation starring Bruce Greenwood and Carla Gugino, is a feminist gem interrogating topics of womanhood, abuse and trauma in unfamiliar and exciting ways.

Contains spoilers.

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Ma Vie de Courgette (Claude Barras, 2016)

Last night, I left the Curzon in Bloomsbury in awe of Claude Barras and his team of animators. I had just watched Ma Vie de Courgette (My Life as Courgette), a film which tells the sober story of a group of abused and abandoned children, brought to life through the magic of stop-motion animation. Continue reading “Ma Vie de Courgette (Claude Barras, 2016)”

Big Little Lies (2017)

Despite the subject of domestic abuse becoming increasingly common as a component of TV shows, especially in soap dramas on British television, it rarely features as central to the narrative. However, in the new American show Big Little Lies (based on Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name), it is integral to the plot. Through an in-depth study of physical and emotional abuse between two characters, played by big-budget film stars Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård, the show targets a range of issues apparent in abusive relationships rarely explored to this extent on TV screens.

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Olivia Coleman in Tyrannosaur (2011)

Paddy Considine’s directorial debut Tyrannosaur, a social realist drama focusing on the developing relationship between a violent, unemployed alcoholic and a victim of domestic abuse, deals with a female’s harrowing experience of physical and emotional torment. In this article, I examine Olivia Coleman’s exceptional performance as a charity shop manager struggling to hide the torrent of abuse her husband inflicts upon her; providing one of the most realistic representations of domestic abuse I have come across so far.

TW: Contains upsetting details of emotional and physical abuse.

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Smoke (2015) / Unaware (2016)

Research regarding LGBT relationships for my dissertation has been difficult, with filmic representation of domestic abuse considerably lacking. Yet, statistics and research provided reveals physical and emotional abuse between partners is no less prevalent than in heterosexual relationships. Continue reading “Smoke (2015) / Unaware (2016)”

Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale (2017): The Trailer

Hulu has finally dropped the first teaser trailer for its upcoming series, The Handmaid’s Tale, and it is intense.

If you haven’t encountered it yet, the story is based on Margaret Atwood’s piece of speculative fiction of the same name, set in a future in which pollution and society’s developments has left the bulk of the population unable to produce children. The story unfolds within a fanatical dictatorship, in which the remaining fertile women are segregated and used as breeders for the upper class.

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Before The Flood (2016)

Last night, I attended a screening of Leonardo DiCaprio’s acclaimed documentary with National Geographic.

After spending a lot of this winter’s nights in watching Netflix’s latest dystopian releases portraying new worlds of toxic political environments (3%, Pedro Aguilera) and the potential (dangers and benefits) of technology (Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker), as well as scenes of rolling, infertile estates, home to the “undead” (Glitch, Emma Freeman), I was shaken by the realisation that this factual documentary didn’t seem all that different. Immediately, it was obvious to me that our changing planet is already, quickly reaching a setting apt for a dystopia.

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Hollywood’s Rape Culture – Maria Schneider and Last Tango in Paris (1972)

I wanted to write an article on the ‘recent revelation’ of Bernardo Bertolucci and Marlon Brando’s treatment of Maria Schneider on the set of Last Tango in Paris (1972). Despite Schneider discussing her experience in 2007, why is it only now being acknowledged by the media as a case of sexual abuse? It’s upsetting proof of how 21st century Hollywood is plagued by rape culture, permeating all levels of the industry.

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