BFI Retrospective

The Woman Who Kicked Down Doors: The uncompromising films of Antonia Bird

Introduction by Mark Cousins, filmmaker, friend and colleague of Antonia Bird

Some great filmmakers stand outside the citadel, lobbing in their invective. The cinema, TV and theatre director Antonia Bird was closer to her times – Britain in the 1980s, 90s and 2000s. Safe, Priest, Face, Ravenous, Rehab, Care and Hamburg Cell were blasts on the trumpet, wake-up calls about how homelessness, homophobia, class prejudice and machismo made life hell. Her work was great at hell – the confessional in Priest, the streets of London in Safe – but her energy came from how clearly she saw the citadel, its market place, its solidarity. Bird ranks with Shirley Clarke, John Cassavetes and Ousmane Sembene. Like them, she was in a rush to record history on film. Time ran out for her, but our time is there in her work.

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One of the UK's greatest directing talents.

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