Pride, a film by British Tony Award winning theatre director Matthew Warchus, has won this year’s unofficial Queer Palm award for films that best touch on homosexual, bisexual and transgender issues at the Cannes Film Festival.
Based on the true story of pioneering gay rights campaigners in London who raised funds for the families of the miners with a series of ‘Pits and Perverts‘ – as named by the Sun newspaper – concerts among other events, the Hollywood Reporter has described the relationship between the two groups as an ‘unlikely union of solidarity between embattled mineworkers and militant gays.’
It added, ‘The fight for LGBT rights would appear unrelated to the labor battles of the blue-collar wasteland, but Mark sees the virtue of solidarity among the marginalized and oppressed. He assembles a small group to raise money, making a persuasive case that they share the common enemy of Thatcher’s conservative government and its policy of steamrolling the disenfranchised.’
Wales Online reported that by December 1984, the London group had collected over £11,000 by a mixture of pub, club and street collections, benefits, parties and other events and were able to donate a minibus to a miners’ support group.
When the National Union of Mineworkers was reluctant to accept the gay activists’ help, they decided to go meet the miners in Wales to give them the money themselves.
The following year, the Union brought their banners to the 1985 Gay and Lesbian Pride Rally in London, and helped push through gay rights policies at the 1985 Labour Party Conference, in the face of opposition from that Party’s National Executive.
‘It is an inspiring story for the young,’ Warchus, 47, told AFP. ‘Politics has a very bad name today among young people… The film shows that politics means changing things.’
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.’
The film stars Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Andrew Scott and Paddy Considine, and is due for release in the UK on September 12.