We Need to Talk

Women watching a film

… about films, or more specifically films made by women. And where better to do that than at The Women’s Library’s fortnightly virtual meetup celebrating women in film.


Our next films under discussion is Amma Asante’s Belle (2013), available for free on SBS On Demand. This is the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, born in 1761, the daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay and an African slave. Belle was raised by her aristocratic great-uncle (Sir John Lindsay’s uncle) Lord Mansfield and his wife, at a time when the British empire’s economy depended on the slave trade. In the late 1700s, there were about 15,000 black people in London (population approx. 750,000) though very few were free citizens.

“The relative absence of known facts about Dido Elizabeth Belle gave screenwriter Misan Sagay considerable artistic license in framing the young woman’s story within the broader historical context of a slave-centered economy slowly entering its death throes. It is 1769 when young Dido (Lauren Julien-Box), the illegitimate daughter of Capt. Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) and an African slave, is sent to live with her aristocratic great-uncle, Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) […] (You can read the rest of this review here).

For background, see this interview with the Director and this one with the Writer.

Watch the films at your leisure and join the Zoom chat on Sunday 16 May at 6pm. Details of how to join the Zoom session are sent out to all film club members. If you are not already a member of the film club, join up here.


If you’re keen for more shorts after our last session, ABC iView has a great selection from AFTRS film school students, which you can watch any time.


Image Credit: Alla Serebrina on Deposit Photos