The Keeping Room
Sunday 12th October, 8.30pm – Odeon West End, Screen 2
Tuesday 14th October, 3pm – Odeon West End, Screen 2
Wednesday 15th October, 6.30pm – Vue Cinema Islington
The Keeping Room puts a feminist twist on American war hero blockbusters like as Saving Private Ryan. This film explores the story of the women left behind and forced to, as Brit Marling’s character sums up so eloquently, learn to become men instead of wives now. It is a depiction of the women of the American Civil War who were left behind, their male protection gone and themselves and their homes left in a dangerous and vulnerable state, portrayed using powerful, loud and disturbing imagery.
The complex character played by Sam Worthington, juxtaposed intelligently with his un-complex, drunken first mate, reveals the atrocities of war in the most disturbing way possible: its ability to either alter or bring out the “monster” in men. This is a more realist portrayal of war, as opposed to the idealised fantasy that war turns regular men into heroes as Hollywood would have us believe. Worthington’s character acknowledges this, as does the quote chosen to represent the film, that cruelty in war is necessary in order to end it faster. Therefore, soldiers must become cruel themselves in order to save lives: their own and those fighting alongside them. This film explores the fascinating and disturbing paradox that surrounds the concept of war and humanity.
As well as channeling feminism, The Keeping Room also includes a strong race layer. This film suggests that race becomes void during a war, as all the women left behind must work in order to maintain their homes and lives. They cannot simply rely on their slaves anymore, especially as the male slaves have also been shipped off to war. This puts the white and black women of the house on near equal footing. In addition, it shows how trauma, atrocities and danger can take the focus off race as the survival instinct, common to all humanity, kicks in.
The Keeping Room reveals the especial barbarism female slaves experienced at the hands of their male masters by familiarising the more privileged white women with a taste of this barbarity. If women were valued less than men, then black women were valued even less and the savagery they were exposed to is a key message in this affecting film.
The Keeping Room release date is yet to be announced.
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Watch the trailer for The Keeping Room here: