Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Tell it to the Bees - film review

Set in a small Scottish town in the nineteen fifties, Tell It To The Bees is the story of Charlie (Gregor Selkirk) whose father, returned from the war a changed man, walks out on his marriage. Charlie's mother Lydia (Holliday Grainger) works all the hours she can in a mill to try to keep a roof over their heads.

Jean (Anna Paquin) has returned to the village to take over her dead father's medical practice. She treats Charlie after he is hurt by bullies at his school and introduces him to her bees. She encourages him to tell his secrets to the bees and he starts keeping a nature diary based on his observations of the hives. 

Charlie's friendship with the doctor leads to his mother becoming friends with Jean too. When Lydia is threatened with eviction, Jean offers her a job as her live in housekeeper. The two women find themselves drawn into an intense friendship which develops into a sexual relationship. But gossip travels quickly in a small town and lesbian relationships weren't considered normal in the 1950s so the new household that the three are creating together is threatened right from the beginning. 

The bees are present throughout, as confidants to Charlie and playing an important role in the plot at one point too. 

It's in many ways an excellent film, the main characters and their relationships are believable (though Paquin's Scottish accent slightly less so) and the story sheds a light on the repressive attitudes of a 1950s small town community.

This is based on the novel by Fiona Shaw, though the ending has been changed (If you've seen the film, you may like this excellent article by Shaw about what she thinks of the ending).

Tell it to the Bees is screening at the Filmhouse until Thursday 25 July. 

Cross posted to my Crafty Green Poet blog here.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

New Testimonials: The Bi-Ble Volume 2 (essays on bisexuality)

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New Testimonials: The Bi-Ble Volume 2 is a stand alone follow up to The Bi-ble Anthology of Personal Narratives and Essays about Bisexuality (which I reviewed here). It contains a range of new essays on various aspects of the bisexual experience, from writers from across the UK and overseas.

These essays and personal stories about bisexuality come from a variety of viewpoints and covering topics including bi-erasure, race and sexuality, disability, and popular culture (including Flash Gordon, St Vincent and Janelle Monae). There's nothing however about goths and bisexuality (and nor was there in the first volume), which seems like an area that could be explored in an essay.

The pieces are well written and interesting, sometimes amusing and often moving. Some are very much personal narratives and some are definitely essays, some of them quite academic in style (but always accessible to the general reader) Whether you're bisexual, questioning, or just curious, this collection will open you to new perspectives. There isn't a lot of bisexual literature out there and the two volumes of the Bi-Ble help to fill that gap.

The Bi-Ble volumes 1 and 2 are available to buy together or separately from Monstrous Regiment, a great new feminist independent press based in Edinburgh. You can visit their online shop here.

New Testimonials will be launched at an event in Edinburgh on Friday 19 July, find out more and book your place here