Pride has swept cinemas across the UK and internationally and has become an instant British classic in the same way that The Full Monty, Billy Elliot, East is East, and Brassed Off have. Last Friday evening at the cinema I volunteer at, No.6 Cinema, Portsmouth, we screened the film for the first time (with a second screening this Sunday 19th October at 3pm).
Pride focuses on the miner’s strike of 1984-5 when a group of lesbian and gay activists who named themselves LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) helped raise funds for the miners and their families. The story that follows explores the problems that people faced under Thatcher’s government in terms of poverty, severe homophobia, and other problems affecting them such as AIDs. The film has a lot of dark moments in it, but the light-hearted comedy and lovable characters, performed comically by big name actors like Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Paddy Considine, Dominic West, and Andrew Scott along with many other British actors, and the flamboyant 80’s soundtrack, makes the film an important piece in tracing Britain’s national past but without being too full on.
Before the screening, I gave a five minute introduction to the film, providing some context to the narrative and how it deals with a political and social past in Britain, set in the era of Margaret Thatcher’s government. I outlined the importance of viewing the film in reference to it following on in a tradition of British comedy that ‘sugars the pill’ of problems within Britain, and compared it to other British films like The Full Monty. Pride is a film very close to my heart as I am from a very working class council estate area of North East England. British social dramas and comedies which are typically set in the North of England, in Wales or in Scotland, have a sentimentality that people within those areas, where the effects of Thatcher are still evident, can relate to. This made me want to do the film justice by bringing the importance of the themes and social context out in my introduction by conducting as much research as I could around the film.
A video was made of my introduction which can be watched below. The video quality isn’t very good, but it is the sound that I wanted to get across. I hope that fans of the film feel that I did it justice through my talk, and that I provided an interesting introduction to Pride in terms of context and history, and hope this will be the first of many talks I can give at the cinema.
Please note: I said the date of the film’s event was 1983 – 1984, but it was in fact 1984 – 1985. I was slightly nervous and also couldn’t see the sheet too well due to the dim lighting (and my not so perfect eye sight) so I apologise for getting it wrong.