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11 March 2021

Paradise Lost

by Syd Briscoe

UN Women UK: “Safe Spaces Now” - 60s

The question at the heart of this film for UN Women UK may go unvoiced, but is understood with crystal clarity by every woman watching: what would you do in a world without men? The answers are so simple that they may seem underwhelming at first - stay out late, take public transport, go outside - but the grim reality of what they mean sets in fast.

It's been, to put it lightly, quite a fucking week for women in the UK. Pandering performances of corporate support on International Women's Day were followed by high-profile and vicious expressions of disbelief at Meghan Markle's experience of racism and mental health issues, rapidly undoing any good achieved by 'be kind' campaigns. Speak up, says the media, but not too loudly.

Now the horrific murder of Sarah Everard has sparked yet another round of the conversation it's almost impossible to believe we're still having in 2021 - namely, that women should be able to live their lives without constant fear of harassment and assault. The everyday details pictured here - texting a friend that you're home safe, keys carried between knuckles, anxious glances around public places - are second nature to women, and by now cannot possibly be news to men.

If, indeed, these improvised safety measures are news to any man watching, then it's because he has willingly buried his head in the sand. Another woman loses her life and again the discussion focuses around her actions, not those of her killer. What did she wear? Where did she walk? Why was she alone?

There are improvements, however, and progress is being made. Despite the predictable and callous #NotAllMen trending on social media, a counter movement sees men asking for advice on how to make women feel more comfortable in public. Even if tips like "don't follow a woman at night" feel like common sense, it's significant that they're being asked for, given, and heard.

Women have been modifying their behaviour to reduce the chance of attacked since before they hit puberty. They have been forced to live as prey in a world of predators, and they know what they're talking about. Listening to them, reprimanding men who behave badly, and most importantly leaving women the fuck alone is the most valuable thing men can do to help. Now do it.

Film Production: Missing Link Films Ⓟ Ⓦ
Director: Florence Winter Hill ♀ Ⓟ Ⓦ
Producer: Ben Link
Production M'ger: Portia Abatan
Production Ass'nt: Sorcha O'Sullivan
Executive Producer: Heather Link
1st AD: Ben Keswick
2nd AD: Sonny McMillan
Cinematographer: Ronnie McQuillan
1st AC / Focus Puller: Kate Eccarius
2nd AC: Lou Macnamara
Steadicam Operator: Junior Agyeman Owusu
DIT: Mark Kozlowski
Sound Recordist: Paul Paragon
Gaffer: Paul Choy
Spark: Hayden Jones
Costume Design: Mia Maxwell
Make-Up: Tabitha Kyprianou
Location Manager: Adam Lancashire
Editor: Flaura Atkinson ♀ Ⓟ Ⓦ @ Stitch Ⓟ Ⓦ
Colourist: Juliette Wileman
VFX Producer: Absolute Post
VFX Flame: Milo Paterson
Sound Designer: Ellis McGourlay @ 750MPH Ⓟ Ⓦ
Composer: Cora Miron
Written By: Florence Winter Hill ♀

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