Friday 17 February 2012

A Taste of Honey - Film (1961)

Screenplay by Shelagh Delaney based on her very own groundbreaking and polemical play of the same name, originally written in 1958 when Delaney was only 18 years old.

The film was co-written with its director Terry Richardson. It tells the story of 17 year old Jo (played earnestly by Rita Tushingham) in her unsettled life with an alcoholic mother (portaryed brilliantly by Dora Bryan).

Jo's life come to an expected changes after meeting black sailor Jimmy (equally fragile and charming Paul Danquah) and after his departure into service, Geoffrey - who is a sharp but gentle (and far from stereotypical) gay, young textile designer. Generous and as lonely Jo, he invites her to move in with him.

Jo eventually finds out she is pregnant after her brief liason with Jimmy and is her following questioning of her condition and the impending repetition and continuation of her situation that makes the story so compelling.

The film is very spatious in its camera work, allowing the drama to unfold naturally as it would in a real time set play. Delaney's iclusion of character of different races and sexual orientaions was her way of making reality to be seen from its inclusive angles, that we are all at times alone together in the choices we make and in what destiny allows to choose.

The scene where Jo and Geoffrey are in a church graveyard discussing their origins, theri present (see video above), the sight of a dead bird and a discarded baby doll ("the wrong colour") on its grounds make for a poingnant reflection on the limited a number of choices a girl like Jo has.

One of the most moving films I have ever seen - a definite jewel in British Cinema's crown.

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In this blog I intend to do some historical justice to the many, many women who have contributed with their genius, creativity, adventurous spirit, nurturing - amongst other qualities - to the apparent linear and male dominated prescribed notion of History. This is just the beggining.