A film set in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain at the time of the devastating miners’ strike has won this year’s unofficial Queer Palm award for gay-themed cinema at the Cannes Film Festival.
“Pride”, a film by British director Matthew Warchus, tells the story of a group of gay and lesbian activists that decides to raise funds for the families of the miners during the 1984 Gay Pride in London.
But the National Union of Mineworkers seems reluctant to accept their help. Undeterred, they decide to go meet miners in Wales to give them the money themselves. The two, very different communities end up uniting to defend the same cause.
“It is an inspiring story for the young,” Warchus told AFP.
“Politics has a very bad name today among young people… The film shows that politics means changing things.”
The unofficial Queer Palm is awarded every year during the festival to films that best touch on homosexual, bisexual and transgender issues.
Last year, French thriller “Stranger at the Lake” won the award. The film, which contains graphic sex scenes, told the story of a man who finds himself attracted to a local killer.
This year’s Queer Palm jury president Bruce LaBruce, a Canadian filmmaker, said “Pride” is “an important and relevant story to tell today given the climate of intolerance and violence directed against those among us whose sexuality questions the norms of the dominant culture”.
“The film reminds us that political, sexual or social struggles against reactionary and conservative powers were born from direct activism.”
Created in 2010, the Queer Palm has evolved over the years and in 2015, award organisers will launch the first professional gatherings at Cannes for people involved in so-called “queer cinema”.
“It’s important here in Cannes to think together about problems inherent to the production of queer films that promote sexual diversity,” organiser Franck Finance-Madureira told AFP.
LaBruce said “queer” cinema was pushing back the “boundaries of orthodoxy”.
“It is often marginalised due to the idea that it only affects a part of the public. We’re finally realising that’s not reality.”
Warchus added that “Pride” was made as a mainstream movie. That “couldn’t have happened five or 10 years ago”.