10.3.07

Amazing Grace - UK Premiere


For some reason I can't fathom we received an invitation to see the UK premiere of Amazing Grace at the National Media Museum in Bradford.
It was a black tie event and a bit swanky for Bradford. Also in attendance was the director Michael Apted and actor Ben Cumberbatch who took some questions from the Bradford International Film Festival's Artistic Director Tony Earnshaw, an old colleague of mine from the Yorkshire Post.
It was a good film but not a great one. The story of William Wilberforce's fight for the abolition of the slave trade begins inEngland, 1797. Exhausted by his crusading campaign to bring an end to the British Empire’s tradition of slavery, the young MP William Wilberforce retreats to his friends’ home to recuperate from an annual defeat to have his bill adopted into the constitution.
History shows that Wilberforce returned to the fray and, with a combination of obsession and evangelical zeal, raised sufficient support to eventually win the day. That he was unorthodox cannot be denied: he was a God-fearing radical, an idealist and a humanitarian in a world of state sanctioned cruelty.
That alone made him a figure of ridicule; his pursuit of an end to the trade of human beings as commerce made him a pariah... and a hero.
What intrigued me most was Cumberbatch's performance as Prime Minister William Pitt - the consumate politician who was capable of bending his principles to the direction of prevailing political wind but always winning out in the end. Remember this was the man who beat Napoleon.
Given the current state of affairs in the UK and the world - it was easy to draw parallels with Tony Blair, but I am not sure this is what the writers intended.
Any way that impressed me enough to go out later today and buy William Hague's book on Pitt.

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