The Inside Out LGBT Toronto Film Festival had its gala closing at the Bloor Cinema Sunday night with the international premiere of The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister to a sold out crowd. Lister is referred to as the first modern lesbian because she made every attempt she could to be true to her self and her relationships. The film condenses 30 years into stories of 3 major relationships with women Anne had in her adult life. The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister only had an 18-day shooting schedule and a very limited budget but it does an amazing job of not showing these limitations on screen. Maxine Peake (Criminal Justice) stars in The Secret Diaries Of Miss Anne Lister (working title), a bold and passionate drama for BBC Two, written by Jane English (Street Dance 3D, Sugar Rush) and directed by James Kent (Elizabeth David: A Life In Recipes, Margaret). She was a lesbian, who, despite needing to keep her orientation secret from society at large, in private defied the conventions of her times by living with her female lover.
Anne Lister kept a detailed account of her life, her loves and her emotions in a fascinating and painfully honest four million word journal. A sizeable portion was written in code and the recent deciphering of these diaries provides an astonishing insight into the life of the woman who has been called Britain's first modern lesbian. Anne Lister's remarkable diary and her truly extraordinary life form the basis of The Secret Diaries Of Miss Anne Lister. Starring as Anne Lister, Maxine Peake says: "Anne Lister was a extraordinary woman who, up to recently, has only really been documented in lesbian history. Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC Two, adds: "This is the world of the Brontes, with an unexpected twist.
An accompanying one-hour documentary presented by Sue Perkins (comedy writer and presenter) will tell the story of Anne Lister and the decoding of her diaries. The Secret Diaries Of Miss Anne Lister has been commissioned by Janice Hadlow and Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning. Filming from November 2009 for transmission in 2010, The Secret Diaries Of Miss Anne Lister is produced by Mark Bentley from Oxford Film and Television. The BBC executive producer is Jamie Laurenson and the Oxford Film and Television executive producers are Nicolas Kent and Simon Rockell. The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister opens with Maxine Peake as the 19th-century landowner, thinker, and passionate, and daringly open, lesbian yomping across some moorland.


As its title suggests, the source of the drama are the diaries Lister left behind, with explicit descriptions of her lesbian life and passions hidden in a tangle of mathem­atical formulae, which were finally decoded 150 years after Lister’s death (in 1840, aged 49, from a fever while walking in the Caucuses with her live-in lover, the heiress Ann Walker).
The drama implies that Walker was the calm, steadfast and constant relationship Lister always craved, even if Marianna Lawton was her real passion. What makes it more intriguing is that this is all set in a time without any words for “it”.
Lister was a radical, says Kent, “because she defined lesbianism at a time when it wasn’t conceived as a sexual act: real and heartfelt in a society that just finds it impossible to imagine, but where I am pretty sure, because of the lonely position of women, it existed aplenty. The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister opens on March 24 at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, until March 31.
Lead actress Maxine Peake was in attendance and received a standing ovation at the end of the night, that was well deserved. The diary was lost after her death until it was found in the early 20th century by some of her relatives.
Historically, homosexual relationships were kept extremely hidden by marrying the opposite sex and then just going to their lovers when they were able. The film starts off with her love affair with Marianna (Anna Madeley) who Anne had every intention of spending the rest of her life with.
The performances are absolutely flawless and the film does a great job of condensing much of Anne’s life into just 90 minutes without it feeling rushed.
When he isna€™t writing about some underrated film classic, Kelly is a painter and a graphic designer. What an inspiring renegade she seems in James Kent’s film, which opens the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival on Wednesday in Leicester Square. Their relationship was doomed though: Lawton, who affec­tionately called Lister “Fred”, wouldn’t leave her husband for Anne.
Lister dressed dourly (manfully by that era’s standards and not ours) and she endured homophobia, both sniggering and intim­idating, mostly unsup­ported — though far from passively. Utterly unapo­logetic and out to the world, even dedicating the local casino she had built to Anne Walker, she even pre-dated a belief in civil partnership by quietly ‘marrying’ Anne. Anne’s diaries are laden with sex and give the lie that the sexual act must involve penet­ration by a man.


Once they decoded some of the diaries they didn’t like what they found and it was never fully decoded until the early 1990s. She loves Anne too but doesn’t want the world to know that they are lesbians and wants the stability of a regular marriage.
Although the director James Kent is mainly experienced in Television films, he brings a beautiful Gothic look that gives the mood of Wuthering Heights . I think it’s fascinating to see that a woman 200 years ago lived her sexual convictions in this way. She wanted to marry her female lovers and didn’t even want to put up the facade of a straight marriage.
This becomes unbearable to both women so they exchange rings and agree to be together openly when Marianna’s husband eventually dies. This was made as TV production to be shown on BBC 2 but it deserves to be seen on the big screen if you can find it in limited release. It’s certainly the most emotionally intense depiction of lesbian sex ever on British television. Meanwhile, Anne’s former lover Tib (Susan Lynch) keeps coming back for Anne and even though Anne gives in to temptation with her once and while, she finds her generally boorish.
After getting tired of waiting for Marianna, Anne develops her third major relationship with a wealthy young heiress, Ann Walker (Christine Bottomley). While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience.
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