Hollywood struggles with sexism, female-led story ends
London film fest
Send a link to a friend
[October 16, 2017]
By Lisa Keddie and Robin Pomeroy
LONDON (Reuters) - The
London Film Festival closed on Sunday with a violent and
profanity-laden dark comedy featuring Frances McDormand,
as a small-town mother seeking justice for her murdered
daughter, tipped for an Oscar nod.
At the end of a movie fortnight overshadowed by
a cascade of allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey
Weinstein, writer-director Martin McDonagh said he was happy to
close the festival with "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing",
calling it "a proper cool film" with a woman at its heart.
"I mostly wanted to write a really strong female lead for a film
so I came up with this idea of a very angry mother who goes to
war with her local police department," McDonagh told Reuters on
the red carpet in London's Leicester Square.
"Once I thought that Frances would be the perfect person for it,
it wrote itself almost."
McDormand shot to global fame in "Fargo", another small-town
black comedy, as a North Dakota police chief, a role that won
her the Best Actress Oscar in 1997.
In "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing", her character decides to
confront the police chief, played by Woody Harrelson, by hiring
advertising hoardings to berate him for failing to find the
culprit who raped and murdered her daughter.
"McDormand’s performance is every bit as commanding as her
Oscar-winning work in 'Fargo' 21 years ago," Daily Telegraph
critic Robbie Collin said in his five-star review of this
"gut-twisting, cinder-black comedy" which won the top prize at
the Toronto International Film Festival.
Harrelson, who starred in Martin McDonagh's last movie, "Seven
Psychopaths" said of the British-Irish filmmaker best know for
"In Bruges": "He's turned into a real master of his craft and I
think he has just gotten better each time."
[to top of second column]
A day after the Academy of Motion Pictures expelled Weinstein over
allegations of sexual harassment, some actors were more forthright
than others over the scandal.
Clarke Peters, who plays an African-American police chief in the
small Missouri town beset by racial tensions in "Thee Billboards",
said Hollywood "should go into a room and reassess their humanity".
Abuse in the film industry was not limited to one individual, Peters
said, adding: "We all get accosted in one way or the other."
"They have this wonderful machine to communicate to all of these
people, why use it in such a despicable way?”
The New York Times and The New Yorker have published allegations
from a number of women that Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted
them in incidents dating back to the 1980s, including three who said
they had been raped.
Reuters has been unable to independently confirm any of the
allegations. Weinstein, 65, has denied having non-consensual sex
(Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Richard Balmforth)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.