Philippa Lowthorpe’s recent film on the 1970 Miss World Pageant, Misbehaviour, has enjoyed the advantage of being released just before the lockdown, giving people no choice but to watch it from the comfort of their homes. But while undoubtedly watchable, the film’s approach to feminism and intersectionality notably erases contemporary feminist movements led by women of colour.
warning: this review contains spoilers.
When I learned that the BBC was airing the first ever television adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s award-winning teen novel, Noughts and Crosses, I was instantly intrigued. How would Blackman’s vision of an alternately racialised society play out on the small screen in 2020?
The speculative fiction novel (first of a series), published in 2001, follows a teenage friendship – later romance – between Callum, a member of the Nought (light-skinned) oppressed underclass, and Sephy, a member of the Cross (dark-skinned) ruling class. The adaptation is more adult, dramatic and violent – it also contains several new plot points.
By Jess O’Dwyer
“There is a political power in laughing at these people.”
So say Led By Donkeys, a “Brexit accountability project” created by four friends who wanted to “[channel] frustration into action and [hold] politicians to account with a bit of humour.” The group go around the country putting up billboards with quotes or Tweets from pro-Brexit politicians, as well as projecting or broadcasting previous interviews on Brexit. This is to show a side-by-side comparison of their changes in stance, highlighting contradiction and hypocrisy.
The latest incarnation of Star Trek hit our screens last week and there is so much we could unpack. I could address the online reaction to the show’s diverse casting controversy, the unusual production decision or I could analyse it critically; divorced from its Trekkie fandom and heritage.
But the truth is I don’t want to do any of that. It’s clear that Star Trek has always been on the left of the political spectrum. People who get paid way more than I do have already looked at every aspect of the production and decided what they want to do with their show. And it’s impossible to divorce Discovery from all the Trek that came before it. As a liberal snowflake, what I really want to write about is how the show made me feel.
by Eli Lambe
CW: victim blaming, transphobia, homophobia, rape
Sitting in my mum’s living room, vaguely paying attention to what she had loaded up ‘on-demand’, I started to get antsy and agitated. The programme, a gritty ITV crime-drama called “Cold Blood” kept jumping out at me with its thinly veiled victim blaming, transphobia and homophobia. Because it was being played ‘on-demand’, the same few ads kept popping up. This, along with a summer of conversations that continually went nowhere, prompted the following rant/doodle/mess…
Often my articles here in the Arts section follow a similar pattern; I observe what I think is a poor defence or poor criticism of a subject, give my contrary reasoning and cast some shade, then tried to conclude with what I think is a better approach to art in general. The overall meta-thesis tends to be “artists and audiences need to be smarter and less sensitive”.
Whilst I do have fun writing such pieces, I feel that my critical pattern is par for the course for liberalism in general. There is an overwhelming feeling of being against something rather than for something. Politically I can reason myself around this. If I’m against inequality in the workplace, I’m de facto for equality. With the arts though it can make me feel like a grumpy old curmudgeon who hates everything and writes from a place of negativity and harsh criticism; To remedy that I wanted to write about something that I was excited about. I failed.
Not only is it a great crime drama with a nunchuck-wielding lead named Dashiell Bad Horse, but the show will have an almost entirely Native American cast and give a voice and representation to the issue of a people marginalised and mistreated in their own land.
What I wanted to write about is the upcoming television adaptation of Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra comics series Scalped. I love Scalped. It’s a gritty western-crime-noir about an undercover F.B.I. agent on Prairie Rose Indian Reservation. It’s brutal, tense and amazing. Its depiction of life on the “rez” and the struggles of Native Americans feel raw and honest and uncomfortable. I’m not the type of guy who gets super excited for either comic book adaptations or TV series, but this is different. Not only is it a great crime drama with a nunchuck-wielding lead named Dashiell Bad Horse, but the show will have an almost entirely Native American cast and give a voice and representation to the issue of a people marginalised and mistreated in their own land.
“They’ll never do it,” I said, with total certainty. “I mean I’d love it – if it wasn’t Stephen Moffat writing it, at least – but they’ll never do it.”
I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to be so wrong.
CW: discussion of domestic violence
An eight episode series, Las Chicas del Cable (The Cable Girls) begins with a woman killing her friend’s husband – part self-defence, part accident – also shooting her friend. It’s a drama full of love stories, as well as crime and mystery, yet domestic violence is a major theme that runs through the series. Set in 1928 in Madrid, it shows the impossibility of leaving an abusive relationship in a patriarchal society, where even the law protects men who are abusers.
by Jess Howard
As a nineties baby, I grew up with Friends. There’s seldom a day where I make it through a 24 hour period without adding in a few quotes from it, be it “PIVOT” or “WE WERE ON A BREAK”, and any show that involves a cameo from Bruce Willis is fine by me. This show was my life.
But lately I’ve been thinking about how it applies to my life today as a pansexual woman. Does this nineties/noughties classic represent an accepting attitude towards homosexuality at the turn of the century? Or does it contain strident homophobia disguised as a casual joke?