by YONA C. RIEL

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister....

  ... was the opening night film for the SF LGBT film festival this year and it did not disappoint.  The photography brought me right to England with a dark blue sky and several scenes taking place in a vast of greenery, including the first sex scene.  The clothing, empire waists for the women and britches with knee-highs boots for the men, apparently popular in the early 1800's was also flawless.  But what really made the movie work was the story of a hard-headed woman who fought against all odds for what she believed in and the right to be with the woman she loved long before the word feminist had ever been uttered.


    Anne Lister was born into a wealthy family and coal was discovered on the land she inherited.  Instead of giving in to her neighbor (who also became a fierce competitor after she refused to marry him) she went into the coal mining business though she knew nothing about it.  This allowed her an economic independence unknown to women in that time period.  Also despite advise from her aunt and uncle against it, she 'married' a female companion.  This in a time when one could be burnt at the stake for less.
   When the director was on stage introducing the film he told a story about a young woman who after seeing "The Diaries of Anne Lister" became brave enough to come out to her family.  I too feel brave after seeing it, and privileged to live in a time where we almost have the right to marry.
   The movie was produced by the BBC and came about because a librarian in the 1970's 'decoded' the diaries kept by Anne Lister.  If you are interested in seeing it you may be able to find it on the BBC channel or order it from Frameline.org.
   This morning we are seeing a documentary called "The real Anne Lister".  I do hope it tells the story of the librarian.   I'll have an update for you later..  Thanks for reading.  yona c. riel

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