Scrubbers: Working-Class Heroines of 1980s Cinema (Part 1)

Directed by Mai Zetterling

The Cinema of Ideas celebrates the true heirs to Gracie Fields: the unforgettable working-class heroines who brought grit and glamour to 1980s women’s cinema. To begin, we’ll be screening Mai Zetterling’s Borstal ballad Scrubbers starring Amanda York and Chrissie Cotterill, which marked the screen debut of Kathy Burke, and has been unfairly overlooked as the distaff cousin of Alan Clarke’s prison-drama Scum.

It’s a bold, unconventional and feminist film, laced with black humour, about a group of women torn between life inside and outside prison walls and confined by a system that is designed to punish rather than reform. It’s a modern melodrama and a must for fans of Orange is the New Black. To accompany the online screening, Susannah Buxton, who created the film’s costumes, will be in conversation with film historian and critic Pamela Hutchinson to discuss the making of and the impact of this astonishing film.

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93 minutes

Country of origin:
Great Britain

Year of production: