BFI London Film Festival: Suffragette Premiere

Directed by Sarah Gavron
Starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw and Meryl Streep

by Ella Jean

On the opening night of the 59th BFI London Film Festival, Leicester Square held the premiere of Suffragette starring Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Brendan Gleeson, Romola Garai and Ben Wishaw. (Wow, what a cast!)

The premiere was an emotional event with advocacy groups holding signs that lined the carpet to show their support and draw attention to their messages. “50:50 Parliament” and “Sisters Uncut” were at the premiere with their own chants of “David Cameron take note: Dead women can’t vote!”. Their voices blended in with the soundtrack music from the film being played through the speakers, with recorded voices recreating the suffrage songs of the day.

Just before the stars rolled up to the carpet, domestic violence awareness group Sisters Uncut stormed the barriers and laid down on the red carpet. Something so emotional couldn’t have been planned, and although security wasn’t too happy, the ladies showed off exactly what every interviewer had planned to ask: “Do you think this story is still relevant?”. Erm.. Duh!

Sarah Gavron, the director of the film said that her and writer Abi Morgan looked at the “ordinary working woman” to inspire the script of the film.  “We looked at how much they had to lose, how hard they fought and how working women are often overlooked in history when they’re often the vanguard of change.”

Carey Mulligan posed for a picture with a sign for 50:50 Parliament and guest of the screening John Hurt posed for selfies with the fans lining the carpet. The most special guests were Helen and Laura Pankhurst, the great and great great grand-daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst (played by Meryl Streep). They seemed quite positive about the displays that took place. “That’s what they did, that’s what the suffragettes did, they were noisy, they shouted, they made a nuisance of themselves. I think they’d be thrilled that we had this,” said Laura Pankhurst.

Her mother Helen Pankhurst said, “I’m convinced that young women in particular are going to watch this film and it’s going to make them think.”

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