Posted Oct 02 2018
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LFF Preview 2018 - Lizzie

Dir: Craig William Macneill

Starring Chloe Sevigny, Kristen Stewart, Fiona Shaw, Kim Dickens, Jamey Sheridan, Denis O'Hare, Jeff Perr

Lizzie Borden took an axe

And gave her mother forty whacks

When she saw what she had done

She gave her father forty one

The legend of Lizzie Borden is re-conceived as a feminist #MeToo tale with lesbian overtones – something that works pretty well. Sevigny is Lizzie, a young woman trapped by the borderline tyrannical patriarchy of her household and her lack of standing in the outside world. Stewart is the Irish maid Maggie, who arrives in the house, finds herself the victim of institutionalised rape of servants (once again – the father) and inadvertently acts as the catalyst to set Lizzie on her course of actions – see poem above for details.

Macneill’ film is gently measured and quietly understated, powered by two excellent restrained but powerful performances from its leads – their first almost-kiss is a beautiful moment that says nothing but speaks volumes.

The modern interpretation of these well-known crimes certainly has plenty of contemporary resonance, recasting Lizzie as victim more than murderer. It’s smartly and subtly done, jumping time frames to slowly reveal the brutality of these events.

Lizzie  plays the LFF on 11, 13 & 20 October

More info @ www.bfi.org.uk/lff

 

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