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51st Directors’ Fortnight May 15-25, 2019

Dance with a stranger

Fortnight 1985, Feature film, 1h42


I set out to make a film about sexual obsession in England. English attitudes to sex have always be devilled by deep layers of hypocrisy, and in 1955, these appeared impenetrable. The public jugment of Ruth Ellis’ shooting of her lover was that it was a sordid little murder, she was a gold digger, a common London tart. She was of use only when a man decided he wanted to use her, so the English took a day and a half to condem her. She hanged and it was a proper victory of the British way of life. This was clearly an injustice produced by the tradition and brutal values of a class, an empire and a masculine world. The 50’s in England did not have the tools of consciousness to deal with the abysses of passion. Surface appearence was everything and what lay beneath was feared and avoided. Half of England reacted phatologically against Ruth Ellis, the other half turned her into an urban myth. She, a grindingly ordinary woman, blind to her real self, spoke to them and for them. If I managed to track the enormously disruptive emotions that these events provoked, both in the most secret recesses of the characters selves and their society. I feel might have got close to something universal. Mike Newell


Mike Newell

He was born in a family of actors. He graduated in Cambridge and studied direction. He entered the Granada Television and became an independant director for the London Weekend Television and the BBC. Among his most popular dramas for TV, are Brassneck, Jill and Jack, Gift of Friendship and Baa Baa Black Sheep that won an Emmy Award. He made his first feature film in 1976. Three of his movies were shown at The Directors’ Fortnight in 1985, 1988 and 1995. Four Wedding and a Funeral was one of his biggest success in 1994.

Ian Holm
Jane Bertish
Matthew Carroll
Miranda Richardson
Rupert Everett
Tom Chadbon

Shelagh Delaney

Peter Hannan

Mick Audsley

Richard Hartley

Production : The First Film Company, Londres, Grande-Bretagne Vente à l’étranger : Goldcrest, Londres, Grande-Bretagne Distribution en France : Arts et Mélodie, Paris


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