For our final cinema-going experience of 2014, Moira+I went along to the Watershed this afternoon to see Matthew Warchus’s “Pride” (various friends, including Gareth, Alan and Becki, had strongly recommended it - so it seems wrong not to!). Based on true events, it's set in the summer of 1984. Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike. At a Gay Pride march in London a group of gay and lesbian activists decide to raise money to support the families of striking miners but, sadly, the Union is embarrassed to receive their support. Undeterred, the LGSM (Lesbians+Gays Support the Miners) decide to drive in a minibus to a mining village in deepest Wales to offer their donation in person… and so begins an extraordinary, surprising, poignant, uplifting story. It’s a beautiful, extraordinary film about pride, about community, about people… and, ultimately, about spirit (even against all the odds).Thirty years on and it’s also a timely reminder of: a) the way in which the Thatcher government acted to destroy the miners (it still makes SO angry), b) the actions of the police during the year-long strike (something, I think, from which they’ve still not fully recovered), c) how the power and effectiveness of the unions has largely been eradicated (through legislation, but also partly as a result perhaps of Thatcher’s “it’s-all-about-the-indivual-and-damn-the-rest-you” legacy) and d) just how far society has changed when it comes to its attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (and LONG overdue!).
It’s a very powerful, glorious, saddening and yet hugely uplifting film… and a very good way to stride into a General Election year!