Every few years we see a film that tackles the social issues of that generation, from sexism and gender norms to LGBT issues. It can be hard to really comprehend what discrimination, poverty or suffering are like when it doesn’t affect you personally. The journey a film takes you on can immerse you into a world you’ve never experienced help you empathise with people you’ve never met, and even inspire social change.
To celebrate the release of compelling British drama The Pass, which is in cinemas across the UK from 9th December, we are taking a look at the films that have used their platform to take on social issues.
THE PASS is the story of three very different nights over 10 years in the life of a Premier League Footballer. Jason (Russell Tovey) is at the beginning of his career, and on the night before his first big international match he and long-time friend and team-mate Ade (Arinze Kene) share a hotel room, trying to beat the inevitable pre-match tensions with locker-room banter and teenage high-jinks. Out of nowhere Jason kisses Ade. The emotional repercussions of this pass, and the decisions that follow on and off the pitch, have a major impact on every aspect of the public and private lives of both men across the next decade, in a sporting world where image is everything.
Starring Russell Tovey, Arinzé Kene, Nico Mirallegro and Lisa McGrillis, The Pass comes to cinemas December 9th.
The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightley, and follows the tale of the famous computer scientist Alan Turing. Turing ingeniously cracked the Nazi Enigma code and is credited for shortening the Second World War by at least 2 years. The father of theoretical computer science was charged with ‘Gross Indecency’ for ‘Homosexual Acts’ which were criminalized at the time – the result was inhumane chemical therapy and the heartbreaking passing of Turing as he took his own life. After the films outstanding reception, a campaign to pardon 49,000 gay men convicted under the same law as Turing was launched, gathering support from human rights campaigners and celebrities alike.
Made In Dagenham
To this day, equal pay is still an issue, though far better than it was in the 1960s, and this is (in part) due to a brilliant group of women from Dagenham. Made in Dagenham is based on the true story of a group of female Ford sewing machinists who fought back against sexual discrimination and walked out of the factory in protest. The women made car seat covers and as stock ran out the strike eventually resulted in a halt to all car production, and sparked major law reform – the Equal Pay Act of 1970! The hugely successful screenplay made the transition to the stages of the West End with former bond girl Gemma Arterton cast as the lead.
Its 1984, the scene is County Durham, the miners are striking and Billy wants to be a professional dancer, but is subjected to the negative stereotype of the male ballet dancer. Billy Elliot charged at the issue of gender-norms head on, and showed that ballet isn’t just for girls (obviously) as the scruffy 11 year old is accepted by the Royal Ballet School. Evoking laughter and tears, the film has become a family favourite and even found its way to the West End.
Tom Daley, Nicola Adams, Steven Davies – all at the top of their respective sporting fields and openly gay. With over 72 teams in the English Football League, not one single player is openly gay. Not one. The Pass challenges this, starring Russell Tovey and Arinzé Kene as two up-and-coming footballers who share a kiss, a kiss that reverberates through the next 10 years of their lives. The Pass homes in on queer themes like gay repression and ‘coming out’, and although the film isn’t just a gay story, the lack of openly gay professional footballers is tackled head on.
THE PASS IS IN CINEMAS DECEMBER 9