Den 14 december 2015 arrangerar Fredrika Bremer Förbundet en förhandsvisning av filmen Suffragette på biograf Park i Stockholm. I samband med förhandsvisningen fick Anna Dahlqvist, nuvarande chefredaktör för Hertha, chans att ställa några frågor till filmens regissör – Sarah Gavron.
As feminists today, what can we learn from the suffragettes?
I think it is important to remember how hard fought for the vote was. The women who waged the campaign tried for 40 years peacefully and then a section of the women turned to civil disobedience inorder to draw attention to the cause. These women endured violence from the police, were imprisoned, went on hunger strike and were repeatedly force fed. They risked so much and at huge personal cost – often losing jobs, homes and families in the process. We owe these women a great debt – we benefit by living in a more egalitarian society today. When the vote was achieved for women almost a hundred years ago it resulted in many laws being passed that allowed women to access areas of life legally and economically. Nowadays we often get complacent about the vote and young people especially don’t use it. It is vital we do.
Making this film is also a reminder that – there are countries around the world where women are still fighting for basic human rights. Thankfully there are modern day activists who are speaking out and empowering women by challenging repression across the globe. Malala Yousafzai is one such activist.
Given the dramatic events involving the suffragettes – how come none made this movie until now?
I think it is a symptom of the fact that women’s history has been marginalized for so long. At school I was not taught anything about the Suffragette movement. And when I did hear about it, it was the Mary Poppins version. Now at last it is on the school curriculum. Also there are so few female teams making films – 1-12 percent of films each year are directed by women. On this film we were a predominantly female team which is rare – producers, writer and director and many other heads of department were women. It perhaps needed a team like this to tell the story.
You had an all-women team, what was the purpose and the benefits?
I have worked with the producers (Alison Owen and Faye Ward) and the writer (Abi Morgan) before and we were all passionate about telling this story. It made sense to us and instinctively we chose a team to work with us that was mostly female. There were also many more women in front of the camera than is usual in a film. There was a great sense of camaraderie on the set. We were all very aware we were telling a story that had not been told before and we all wanted to do it justice. We were also emboldened by the story we were telling – the fact that the Suffragettes had been so fearless about breaking every taboo made us feel more confident about making this film. However we did also have some very key support from men both in the crew and cast. We had an executive producer Cameron McKracken who was a champion and the actors Brendan Gleeson and Ben Wishaw were very committed to telling this story.