We were asked by the wonderful Moor Theatre Delicatessen last year to think of a film we’d like to programme as part of a festival to explore sex, sexuality and gender. The resulting festival Lets Talk About Sex Festival opened this week in Sheffield, and we’re very happy that as Andro and Eve we can represent for lesbian / queer women by presenting Carol.
But why Carol? Well. Although we’re not blessed with hundreds of films exploring lesbian sex and relationships, there were a few other options but none of them so clearly put across a woman’s experience of falling for another woman in such a stylish and emotionally resonant way. We saw Carol on its release in 2015 and were already fans of the book, The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, and frankly, we were blown away.
The two central performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are flawless, and the cinematography, costume and score, perfectly conjure the world in which these two exist. For those worrying that Todd Haynes film will ‘spoil’ the book, I remember being worried about this too. But somehow this film manages to capture the essence of the book, changing a few minor plot points, but making a piece of art that stands in its own right. Phyllis Nagy’s screenplay also allows us to see more clearly the world of Carol Aird, rather that in Highsmith’s novel, where we see the world through Therese’s eyes only. The film is richer, and more moving for this adaption.
Yes, there is sorrow in this film, but ultimately, Highsmith’s novel was groundbreaking in its treatment of a homosexual story where the characters (women too!) were allowed to have their hopeful ending. This bats against the still pervasive classic ‘lesbian must die’ trope in TV and film in a way that makes your heart sing.
We’re so excited to screen this film, transforming the Old Woolworths on The Moor (a fitting tribute to the way Therese and Carol meet!) into a homage to all things 1950’s. With cocktails, costumes galore and 1950’s music it will be an absolute dream to see this film back on a big screen again. We can’t wait!
Our thanks to Moor Theatre Delicatessen for their support in making this event happen, and SheFest Sheffield for placing this film in their weeklong programme to celebrate women as part of International Womens Day!