I recently read an article about how only 11% of directors in the top 250 are women. For those of you who haven’t done the maths that means only 27 are women. This is unacceptable in a world where everyone should be equal. Nevertheless, rather than make this piece about the struggles and difficulties women are going through, I am instead going to celebrate women who do manage to succeed in the industry.
So after searching on the internet to discover an amazing woman, I got distracted on IMDB as I typically do; I can across a new film which intrigued me. Where Hands Touch a film starring George MacKay, a current favourite actor of mine. As I looked more into the film I realised it was directed by one of my favourite directors; so I decided to write about her.
Amma Asante is a British director and writer. She founded Tantrum Films which supported her in order to create the drama ‘Brothers and Sisters’ but also her first major feature, A Way of Life. She has had a few awards over the years and most notably was appointed MBE in 2017 for services to film. She is also an Honorary Associate of the London Film School and has been an elected member of BAFTA Council and BAFTA Film committee member. I think what I love about Amma Asante is she tells stories based on true stories.
She tends to show the struggles, and power women have throughout history but also the issues to do with race. Both in Belle and A United Kingdom we see the struggles of racial discrimination that people constantly have to deal with. Her films repeatedly have something important to say about everyday life and the issues that we constantly dealt with.
A Way of Life (2004)
A drama about the struggles of ordinary life. Focusing on Leigh-Anne Williams, an adolescent woman who has recently had a daughter and had to struggle with a violent father, a mother who committed suicide at an early age, and being a single mother due to her ex-boyfriend being in jail.
With some hard-hitting moments and a shocking ending, this is definitely a film to watch. I think this was a perfect debut film for her as it not only shows a serious talent for filmmaking but also a passion for filming hard-hitting drama about and based on real-life stories.
If you haven’t seen Belle then you are missing out. This is a fantastic film based on a beautiful picture from 1779. It depicts Dido Elizabeth Belle and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray and was one of the first European portraits were both the white and black characters were equal as they are both at eye-line.
I love this film for so many reasons, but I think the main reason is that it shows that though there are negativity and hardship with a bit of luck and hard work things can work out. Belle was one of her most successful films.
A United Kingdom (2016)
Based on the true story of Seretse Khama who was the heir to the throne of Bechuanaland just after World War II. It follows the love story of Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams, whilst he studies in London.
Once more it continues themes of isolation, racism and discrimination. It’s an excellent film about love and power showing that one can often destroy the other. A United Kingdom opened the 60th London Film Festival in 2016 which is a massive honour.
Where Hands Touch (2018)
I honestly cannot wait to see Where Hands Touch it looks amazing. It’s based during World War II and follows the relationship of Lenya a biracial teen who lives in fear for being different and Lutz who is a member of the Hitler Youth. What’s interesting about this film is I’ve not seen many films that give voices to Hitler Youth and I am curious to see how she uses this.
If I was going recommending just one film to go and see about Amma Asante, I think I would choose A United Kingdom as I really feel it emphasises the sort of hard-hitting films she directs.
She is unafraid to delve into the issue of both racist and sexist attitudes throughout history and convey the hard-hitting stories. She is a remarkable storyteller and I cannot wait to see what she does next. I’ve also heard she’s been chosen to direct The Billion Dollar Spy and look forward to seeing how she portrays this on the big screen.