Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Born equal

Last night on Foxtel I was channel surfing and came across a BBC one off drama called Born Equal.

With an all-star cast, Born Equal is a major new drama from Bafta-winning writer and director Dominic Savage. The action is centred around a B&B temporarily housing the homeless and dispossessed. Mark (Colin Firth) is a wealthy city worker whose conscience and guilt about his luxurious lifestyle prompt him to try to help those less fortunate. Staying at the B&B are: Michelle (Anne-Marie Duff), a pregnant mother with a young child, who has escaped an abusive husband, Yemi (David Oyelowo), his wife Itshe (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and their young daughter, Adanna, who have fled the threat of violence in their native Nigeria and Robert (Robert Carlyle), newly released from prison and embarking on a search for his mother.

I missed the last half an hour of it as Richard wanted to watch football highlights (like husband's do), so I googled some more info about it this morning:

Born Equal started life as a film about homelessness but, as the director Dominic Savage embarked upon his research, a markedly different film began to take shape."When I began to look into the problem of homelessness, my sense was that there was a really big issue around people living in temporary accommodation for long periods of time." They're known as the 'hidden homeless' because, although they've got a roof over their heads, it's far from being a home."Savage visited a number of these hostels and met many different people who generously shared their stories with him - stories he says he'll never forget. "I was struck by the diverse reasons why people end up in those places: a fall from grace, a relationship break-up, coming out of prison, leaving the Army, being a refugee. All of those different stories come together in this one place and, for me, that was the starting-point of the film." One of the hostels Savage visited was located in London's Swiss Cottage, literally around the corner from a row of multi-million-pound homes. "I knew then that one of the issues I really wanted to deal with was the extremes of difference in people's lives - and, in a place like London, those extremes can be experienced within just a few streets. People can be in hugely different worlds but sharing the same space. "The film shows huge contrasts between people and how they live, their ideas, what they've got and what they haven't got," says Savage, who points out that although the film is set in London, the same contrasts can be seen all over Britain. "In the end, what the film aspires to achieve is to encourage people to think more about others, care about the less fortunate and be more aware of what's going on around them."

When I lived in London it amazed me that I was living in such a financially rich city, yet I saw some things that shocked me to the core. I remember walking out of a tube station once and seeing a homeless man with one eye, begging for money. Or the time I was sitting in a restaurant and watched a homeless man sniffing glue with a very sad look on his face.

And it still happens here in Sydney too.

One line I liked from the movie was 'we all live under the same sky'. So true! Rich, poor, we all live under the one sky and are no different to anyone else. We all feel things and can be hurt. Or we can all try and love one another that little bit more.


Emily said...

Hello! I've just discovered your blog and I think it's absolutely lovely. You sound as though you love life.

I hope you'll have time to write when your little one arrives - I'd love to hear about your journey through motherhood.

Best of luck for the rest of your pregnancy!

Joanna said...

Thank you Emily! I hope I get the time too, I think it will be a nice treat for myself as I really enjoy writing.