Meryl Streep stars in the hard-hitting historical drama
When The Suffragettes’ indefatigable quest to grant women the vote in the early 20th century came to fruition, history was made. Through hunger strikes, peaceful and non-peaceful protests, force feeding and lobbying, woman in the U.K were finally allowed to participate in democracy.
'Suffragettes' filming in London
And now, in 2014, The Suffragettes are making history again, this time in the movies. For the first time in its history, The Houses of Parliament have been opened up and cleared for use as a film set, as Sarah Gavron (director) and Abi Morgan’s (writer) movie continues shooting.
British actresses Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham-Carter and Anne-Marie Duff all star in the film alongside Meryl Streep, who plays Emmeline Pankhurst. And they were joined by 250 extras playing a mob of rioters at the House of Parliament in the early 20th century.
The film tracks The Suffragettes various struggles as they battles against a society and political system that was – and to many degrees still is – a patriarchal one.
Streep’s character Pankhurst was a major player in the movement, founding the Women's Franchise League, which fought to allow married women to vote in local elections. In 1903, she help found the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), an organisation that gained much notoriety for its activities and the first to be called 'suffragettes'
But her political activism saw her get arrested on numerous occasions. She went on hunger strike, resulting in violent force-feeding. Due to this, the 'Cat and Mouse Act' – which meant Suffragettes who were undertaking hunger strikes at the time would now be released from prison as soon as they became ill - was passed.
‘Suffragettes’ is set for a January 2015 release date in the U.K.
Aesthetically and contextually, the Houses of Parliament provide the perfect backdrop