If you’ve ever spent time on the internet, or if you grew up on it like I did, you know what a meme is. From innocent cats doing things to Vine (RIP) compilations to the the far right co-opting a cartoon frog, there is no doubt that they are central to much of our lives without anyone really paying much attention.
At this year’s Woman With A Movie Camera summit at the BFI, Associate Editor at Little White Lies Hannah Woodhead led one of the more lighthearted and funnier talks about feminism, memes and cinema.
Originally coined by Richard Dawkins (aka “the edgelord of atheism” to quote Woodhead) back in 1976, the meme was defined as a “unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation.” It is something that can connect us across countries, borders and identities, that highlight aspects of culture and society. They are also hilarious.
Memes are a way we absorb and understand art. Think of the hundreds of ‘no context’ accounts on Twitter. From Louis Theroux to The Phantom Thread or First Reformed, we use these screenshots of memorable lines, or facial expressions to both show our love and appreciation for cinema and TV.
On Tuesday evening every audience member of the sold out NFT1 screen at the BFI Southbank rose to give 90-year-old Agnès Varda a standing ovation. With astonishing humility, she responded with “I’m so glad there are so many of you. I’m impressed that I’m just coming saying things and you come to listen to me.”
For decades Agnès Varda has been confined to the margins of film history while her French New Wave contemporaries like Godard and Truffaut appear on every film studies syllabus. No more. In the past year, Faces Places screened at Cannes, she received an honorary Academy Award, protested the lack of female directors represented at Cannes, and now is celebrated by a retrospective at the BFI.
BFI Flare is just around the corner; the festival, now in its 32nd year, opens with Tali Shalom Ezer’s ‘My Days of Mercy’ on the 21st March. This year’s programme is bursting with wonderful queer content, ranging from cheesy teen romcoms, to sobering documentaries, to experimental short film. Flare takes great pride in its development from the “London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival”, to the “London LGBT Film Festival” and now, finally, to the much more inclusive “LGBTQ+”. This updated name is reflected in the diversity of the films on offer here – regardless of your label (or lack thereof), there’s something for all interests. Though we don’t have time to sink our teeth into everything on offer, here are a few feature films that we’re especially looking forward to:
Director: Elizabeth Rohrbaugh, Daniel Powell
Cast: Lena Hall, Dan Fogler, Mena Suvari
Summary: After a crushing breakup with her girlfriend, a Brooklyn musician moves back in with her Midwestern mother. As she navigates her hometown, playing for tip money in an old friend’s bar, an unexpected relationship begins to take shape.
At first, I thought this looked a little kitschy, especially considering the focus on music. However, ‘Becks’ has been getting some fantastic reviews since its US release last month even despite the natural lesbian movie backlash, with many stating it to be incredibly genuine and heartfelt. As a result, my curiosity is piqued; it could well be that ‘Becks’ joins the elusive club of cute lesbian indies to be held in in the hearts of gay women for years to come.
Screening Info: Thursday 29 March 2018 18:30 / Saturday 31 March 2018 16:00