If These Walls Could Talk 2

Why I Selected the Films – Lindsay River

What matters in this film is the love the daughter has for both her fathers, alive and dead, and the love they had, and still have, for her and for each other. It is a film of great beauty.

We have asked each of our film panelists why they have selected their films for Elements, and here are the answers from Lindsay:

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Film One: A Last Farewell  (2013) Dir. Casper Andreas. Sweden. 13min

I chose this lovely Swedish film because it really moved me and I felt it would speak not only to the LGBTQI community, but to everyone who sees it. It tells the story of the surviving partner of a gay male couple, who cannot come to terms with the manner of his husband’s dying and who is alienated from their daughter who took a different position than he did as she cared for her dying father.

The acting is impressive and the conflicts it shows are familiar for many of us who have been through complicated grieving processes. Part of why I liked it so much is because the conflict, and its eventual resolution are not about the bereaved dad and the one who has died being gay. Though we do face many challenges because of the difficulties society has placed in our way in the past, and sometimes still in the present, we also, of course, experience emotions in common with the rest of humanity.

I also liked it that you cannot tell which of the dads in the story was the one who fathered the daughter originally, or whether she had been adopted: I liked it because it challenges the idea that these variations in modes of parenthood matter very much. What matters in this film is the love the daughter has for both her fathers, alive and dead, and the love they had, and still have, for her and for each other. It is a film of great beauty.

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Film Two: If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000) Dir. Jane Anderson, Martha Coolidge, Anne Heche, USA, 1 hour 36min

I chose this film because it tells the story of two older lesbians and the way they may be treated by society when their relationship is not seen or understood. It is part of a series of three storylines set in the same house and following incidents in the lives of three different lesbian couples across different time periods. It shows mainly unintended cruelty and neglect of a bereaved partner.

It is true that the story told might not be the same today, yet even today not all LGB older couples feel they can be out to relatives and neighbours and professionals for a variety of reasons that range from the long held habit of necessary privacy, through religious issues to known bigotry and prejudice. The story of the surviving partner, played by Vanessa Redgrave illuminates not only what can happen to couples who have had to live in the closet (as in this story), but also to platonic friends whose deepest bond is with each other but is not recognised by society.

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Film Three: Women Like Us (1990) Dir. Suzanne Neild & Rosalind Pearson. UK. 55min

This film from 1990 is really the most illuminating in its interviews with a variety of older lesbians in the late eighties. Finding the older lesbians to interview was at this time a massive and difficult task and the filmmakers were stunningly successful. Though it is now 26 years old, I feel that is has never been bettered by any other film I have seen on this topic. This is not only for the range and interest in the interviews but also for the sensitive filming which strongly respects the choices and needs of the interviewees.

Women Like Us brings you close to these older lesbians as people, it tells some wonderful stories about their lives, and it gives an insight into the resourcefulness and creativity of the women interviewed, and the strategies they have used to survive in a society that has been mainly homophobic for most or all of their lives. It also gives an impression of the support older lesbians give to each other. The film was followed by a book with the same name which can be found online, and a sequel called Women Like That which looked at the way being in the film had affected the interviewees. It is warm, witty, and a joy to watch.

– Lindsay River

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Why I Selected the Films – Ruth Gould

In a world which over sentimentalises or demonises the lives of disabled people, it was a joy to watch and been my most shared film ever since.

We have asked each of our film panelists why they have selected their films for Elements, and here are the answers from Ruth:

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Film One: Annie Dearest – May 2009 by Mickee Faust Club

I first saw this in the National Disability Film Festival in London and it impacted me as to how powerful – even as a parody – the work of disabled artists/film-makers can be. It is hysterically funny, though very dark in humour, whilst at the same time getting a very strong message across; that of the ‘lived experience of disability’. The usually portrayed, saint-like Annie, the saviour in the closed world of Helene Keller, is turned from ‘Mentor to Tormentor’.

In a world which over sentimentalises or demonises the lives of disabled people, it was a joy to watch and been my most shared film ever since. I have had the joy of working with the film creators at DaDaFest in 2012 and 2014, falling for the whole concept of Mickee Faust as a collective of marginalised people led by Donna-Marie Nudd [Annie in the Film] and the writer Terry Galloway. The film has actually been given the accolade of being one of the 25 most outstanding disability films made in the last five years by Disability World. You’d better enjoy watching it or I will get my coat hanger out of my handbag!!!

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Film Two: Blueprints for Change – Sept 2013 by members of Young DaDaFest

This is a little bit of shameless promotion. The young people involved in our work have shaped and created an eclectic and mixed programme of arts projects from Theatre, DJ’ing through to music and comedy since it began in 2002. Young DaDa worked with a group of young disabled and deaf people to make a short film about the barriers they face in attending youth projects.

The film was devised, written, filmed, edited and narrated by the young people themselves and includes interviews with their peers. The young people received training in film-making skills throughout the project. They say it how it is – and we who can be gate-keepers need to listen and allow them to explain why things can prevent them having access. Also the fact that this was entirely their work makes me personally delighted – ‘nothing about us without us’ has been declared since the disability movement began in the 70’s – and it is good to know that our younger generation know how to keep saying it loud and proud.

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Film Three: Freaks – 1932 Tod Browning

This is an historic film that really could have changed history if it had been accepted into the cinema after it was released in the early 30’s. Based in a travelling ‘freak show’ circus setting, it’s actors are REAL disabled people – shock horror! So much so, it was banned from public viewing – no license was granted until the early 1980’s and only then with an 18+ viewing certificate. If it had been accepted, life I would have been so different for us.

It is a strange story and turns the tables in the most unexpected ways – a story of fantasy, intermingled with the reality of life as a disabled person. It is simply a must viewing – and I challenge you to sing with them ‘ One of Us – Gobble’!

– Ruth Gould

Call for Participants

Credit Masayo Matsuda Pascale Petit tutoring at Tate Modern

Join the renowned poet Pascale Petit, our first West Lakes Writer in Residence, to experience different approaches to creative writing in seven weeks through lively workshops and day trips!

Who is it for: Over 60s with some or no experience of writing, residing in Copeland. Places in this programme are limited and people from minority backgrounds – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender, Black and Ethnic Minorities and/or disabled – will be given priority.

Where: all workshops will take place in Florence Arts Centre, Egremont and trips will happen across West Cumbria, if you have any issue with transportation, please let us know.

When: seven weeks starting the 24th of August including a break week.

  • The workshop (2pm – 4pm) dates are: 24th Aug, 31st Aug, 7th Sep, 21st Sep, 28th Sep and 5th Oct;
  • The trip (10am – 3pm) dates are: 2nd, 9th, 23rd and 30th

What: The programme of six workshops and four day trips will not only introduce you to a range of writing including poetry, novel and drama, but also give you a knowledge of local writing heritage including the Wordsworths, Norman Nicholson and Hugh Walpole on its day trips.

The Outcome: the writing produced in the programme may be included in a final publication. Events and readings featuring some of the writing – either by the participants or by Pascale are also planned as part of a diversity festival, Elements, in October. The participants can remain anonymous or adopt a pen name for the publication and events.

Cost: FREE! However, all confirmed participants* must send a deposit of £20 to Age UK West Cumbria, payable to OutREACH Cumbria, the deposit is refundable upon attending 7 of the 10 activities.

If you are interested in taking part, please fill in and submit our sign-up form by clicking on the button below.