This week we take a brief detour from the films of Cate Blanchett. Instead we are discussing a current film, out on release now, Ammonite. Plus the career of Kate Winslet and in the latter part of the podcast we discuss a few other queer films out this season. Hosted by Murtada Elfadl with guest queer writer-performer, producer and filmmaker Ren Jender, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, NPR, Slate, Bandcamp and The Village Voice.
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What is the film about?
From Wikipedia: “Acclaimed paleontologist Mary Anning works alone selling common fossils to tourists to support her ailing mother, but a chance job offer changes her life when a visitor hires her to care for his wife.”
Who are the main characters?
Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) – a real life fossil hunter who is known to have been single, no historic evidence of her being queer which raised mild controversy before the film’s release – though that’s par for course since queer history is never recorded
Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan) – also a real life person though reportedly older that Mary in real life, there is evidence that Mary was invited to her London house for a weekend.
Elizabeth Philpot (Fiona Shaw) – Mary’s neighbor and assumed former lover.
Molly Anning (Gemma Jones) – Mary’s mother and live-in companion.
Roderick Murchison (James McArdle)- Charlotte’s clueless husband.
- Why this story now? A continuation of presenting queer woman in mostly historical stories.
- The chemistry between Winslet and Ronan.
- The initial marketing made the sex scene the focus – wise decision?
- Might the film have been more interesting if it was about Mary Anning’s life and work and not this concotted love story.
- Fiona Shaw’s performance.
- Comparison to Francis Lee’s previous queer film, God’s Own Country, another queer romance with roots in the lead’s work and their connection to the earth.
- Austere filmmaking, minimal dialogue, drab costumes and settings -did these choices work?
- Is the film boring as this humorous article claims?
- Comparison to Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Rafiki, two other recent films about queer women. Read Ren’s article on both films, and Murtada’s interview with Wanuri Kahiu, the director of Rafiki.
- Highlights of Winslet’s career: Sense and Sensibility, Jude, Peter Jackson‘s Heavenly Creatures. Her long association with the Oscars, awards narrative and post The Reader shunning.
- Other queer movies from this season: I Carry You With Me, No Ordinary Man.