It was more or less coincidence that we happened to watch two similarly-themed films from 2015 on our return from the Netherlands. Unquestionably the better is Pride, distinguished director Matthew Warchus's take on the unlikely coming-together of gays and miners in the 1980s when queer- and union-bashing were rife. Stonewall, on the other hand - and it can be dismissed very quickly - is a fairly crass take on the uprising on Christopher Street that changed gay rights for ever.
The problem with Stonewall is that the cute white boy is the hero, and there seems to be some sort of condescending attitude to 'sad' trannies and drag queens. Never mind; better that it get some sort of mainstream exposure than none at all.
My point here is about connecting in the face of the most frightening political appointment - at least in terms of consequences for the world at large since the 1930s (or the 1990s, if you include Putin, as I think we must - but for Putin to carry out his plans of sowing discord in the west, he needs powerful accomplices). Whatever your reservations about the re-telling of Pride - and a well-known director with whom I shared a coffee the other day says he remembers visiting the Brixton Fairies' hangout, and that they were much less cuddly and rather more damaged as individuals than their screen embodiments - you can't deny it happened. The miners really did turn out in force to join the Gay Pride march of 1985, and their union really was instrumental in pushing for gay rights in Parliament. This article with a number of interviews is excellent on what really happened.
The fact that the miners failed in their quest, and that maybe things fell apart afterwards, doesn't signify. What's important is that people from completely different walks of life got to know and, to a certain extent, to understand each other. Empathy, compassion: for me, that's the point of life. Advance or retreat into apparent comfort which is really a state of fear.
Interesting, incidentally, if not exactly troubling, that the participating stars, Imelda Staunton (first-rate as ever, utterly believable) and Bill Nighy (actually playing someone else, and amazing me), get centre billing, as it were, in the UK poster.
while the folk really at the centre of it all appeared on posters in Germany, Turkey and elsewhere (where possibly Staunton and Nighy weren't exactly household names anyway)*.
Anyway, as the sun leaves the Oval Office and pitch-black moves in, I want to post the two shorter films which are worth replaying, as much in terms of a fridge-note to self as so that others can see them. Saturday Night Live's script-writers hit new heights in this parody of the infamous press conference
while Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick and Cloris Leachman kicked off what I hope will be the first of many re-writes of The Producers. Expect 'Springtime for Putin' soon.
As we're at the bottom of the piece, here's an appropriate cartoon from the genius that is Steve Bell.
*update: my Arts Desk pal Graham Rickson writes: 'just read your blog, which reminds me hearing about this, and how "London-based" replaced "gay and lesbian" in front of the word "activists" on the DVD sleeve'.