Film & TV

British Film Festival: Misbehaviour

Keira Knightley stars in this true story of the Women’s Libbers who disrupted the 1970 Miss World pageant.

If you have been fortunate enough so far to watch A Call to Spy or Warrior Queen at Palace Nova’s British Film Festival, watching Misbehaviour will complete the set. All three films are based on true events and all are stories of women fighting to make a difference in their worlds.

Misbehaviour differs from the aforementioned films as it takes a comedic approach to a serious event. Multi-award winning director Phillipa Lowthorpe with over twenty years’ experience in directing documentaries of all types for BBC Bristol, again proves her worth.

Based on the 1970 Miss World competition held in London, Misbehaviour is the story of the women behind  the newly formed Women’s Liberation movement that staged a protest by making their way on stage and as the show was a live broadcast, ensured their message was seen, heard and spread.

At the time the competition was the most watched show in the world and the event was hosted by stand-up comedian and actor Bob Hope, played by Greg Kinnear. Bob Hope was known to be a notorious womaniser that still had an ongoing affair with the former beauty queen of 1961 and in many ways, truly represented the type of men in the British patriarchy that objectified women.

The movie focuses on Bob Hope and the lead organisers of the demonstration, Keira Knightley as the (initially) law abiding Sally Alexander and, her rebellious counterpart Jo Robinson, played by Jessie Buckley. These two and the amazing women that joined them were vital in achieving overnight fame for the movement.

The other focus of the film were the two women fighting not only the gender battle but also the racism battle namely, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Jennifer Hosten (Miss Granada) and, Loreece Harrison as Pearl Jansen (Miss Africa South).

Finally, what was integrated in a most subtle way was the essential and ongoing support provided by Sally’s partner Gareth, played by John Hefferenan, the factions within the women’s liberation group and also, the women that were against the movement completely; an oft ignored detail in many of these types of films.

Misbehaviour is currently screening as part of the British Film Festival at Palace Nova Eastend and Prospect and begins its theatrical run this Thursday.


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