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Black Narcissus (35mm) with short film

Introduced by Michelle Williams Gamaker

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See three films in our Powell & Pressburger season for £21 – select your tickets and the discount will be applied at checkout. Please note this offer excludes The Boy Who Turned Yellow, which is Pay What You Can.

This screening will be introduced by visual artist Michelle Williams Gamaker and will feature a screening of her short film, House of Women. This screening is part of Cinema Unbound – our 14 screening Powell and Pressburger retrospective celebrating Britain’s greatest and most enduring filmmaking partnership.

Powell and Pressburger’s gothic masterpiece, which finds a group of nuns driven to jealousy and madness at a remote Himalayan nunnery, is one of the most radiantly beautiful of all Technicolor films. It’s also among the most intoxicatingly sensual films ever made. Shot entirely in England, it showcases the combined creative powers of the Archers team at the absolute heights of inspiration.

In 1946, auditions were held for the character of the silent dancing girl Kanchi in Black Narcissus. In a nationwide search close to 1000 hopefuls applied, with over 200 girls tested and interviewed and the coveted role finally went to 17-year-old Jean Simmons, who wore dark Panstick make-up and a jewel in her nose to become the “exotic temptress”. Michelle Williams Gamaker’s short House of Women recasts the role, auditioning only Indian ex-pat or first-generation British Asian women and non-binary individuals living in London. Drawing on tension between construction and illusion, House of Women explores the gaps in representation and the spaces opened up by the “fiction machine” of the 1940s British studio system, which presented a very controlled colonial vision of the British Raj and its people, often replacing Indian actors with British actors.

Short Film - House of Women
Director: Michelle Williams Gamaker / UK / 2017 / 16m / 12A

Supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFl's Film Audience Network and National Lottery funding from the BFI.

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