A black and white image of a couple standing together in a doorway as a woman walks by with shopping bags

Letter to Brezhnev: Working-Class Heroines of the 1980s (Part II) (15)

Film
Date
Thursday 5 - Thursday 19 May 2022
Venue
Online
Recommended Age:
15

Warwick Arts Centre and the ICO Present The Cinema of Ideas.

The ICO’s Cinema of Ideas is an innovative new platform for amplifying different stories through collaboration, discussion and film. A series of online events that will run throughout 2022 and beyond, the Cinema of Ideas will bring underappreciated strands of film culture and heritage directly to audiences nationwide and create a welcoming public forum for vibrant critical discussion.

All these events take place online and will be booked through Cinema of Ideas streaming platform, Eventive, using the links below. Make sure to select Support Warwick Arts Centre from the drop-down menu when you book your ticket. 

Letter to Brezhnev: Working-Class Heroines of the 1980s (Part II)

Streaming 5-19 May, plus live Q&A Wednesday 18 May

The Cinema of Ideas continues its celebration of the true heirs to Gracie Fields: the working-class heroines who brought grit and glamour to 1980s British women’s cinema, with a special Q&A screening of Cold War romance Letter to Brezhnev (1985).

 

Letter to Brezhnev, streaming 5-19 May

In this hilarious film, raucously scripted by Frank Clarke, two best friends hit Liverpool for a night out they will never forget: drinking, dancing and falling for two handsome Soviet sailors, off the boat for just a few hours. Margi Clarke’s Teresa burns up the screen with her red lipstick and bleached hair, but it is Elaine, played by Alexandra Pigg, who gambles on her heart, against all advice, to join her sailor in Russia. Letter to Brezhnev offers a frank depiction of 1980s Liverpool ravaged by unemployment, but also a tribute to the human instinct to find beauty in a dark place – and one of the greatest glow-ups in film history.

 

Live Q&A, 6-7pm Wednesday 18 May

To accompany this online screening, the film’s editor Lesley Walker and producer Janet Goddard will be in conversation with the season’s programmer, film historian and critic Pamela Hutchinson, to share their memories of making the film and its legacy today. A recording of the Q&A will be available to watch immediately after the event.

 

Tickets are £5 and give you access to both elements of the event. Help support Warwick Arts Centre by selecting us at checkout. Book here.

If you have any queries about the event, please get in touch: [javascript protected email address]

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The Working-Class Heroines of 1980s Cinema

Britain in the 1980s was officially a matriarchy: Margaret Thatcher was in No. 10, and Queen Elizabeth expanded her family with two new, soon-to-be notorious new princesses. But in the real Britain, at a time of mass unemployment and industrial decline, women were holding the country together at home, and burning up the screen. Margi Clarke, even brighter than her red lipstick and bleached hair in Letter to Brezhnev, and Kathy Burke and the “hellhole bitches” from Mai Zetterling’s prison drama Scrubbers, were joined by Cathy Tyson’s steely-eyed working girl in Mona Lisa, Pauline Collins’ heartsick housewife in Shirley Valentine, Lynda La Plante’s Widows and the passionate Julie Walters, whether seeking a better life through books in Educating Rita or berating her husband to “fight back, you bastard”, in The Boys from the Black Stuff. These are the true heirs to Gracie Fields: the unforgettable working-class heroines of the screen. Come celebrate the grit and glamour of 1980s women’s cinema.

Missed part one of the series? Watch a recording of the discussion with Scrubbers costume designer Susannah Buxton, who was in conversation with film historian and critic Pamela Hutchinson about the making of and the impact of Mai Zetterling’s astonishing film.

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Accessibility

Letter to Brezhnev will be available to watch with closed captions, and the live Q&A on 18 May will be live-captioned.