London Movie Competition 2021: Moms of the Revolution


London Film Festival 2021: Mothers of the Revolution | review

September 29, 2021

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The heat of the Cold War came not from the missiles but from the air tension between the Western states and the Soviet Union. For a group of Welsh women, these mounting pressures and threats to the safety of their own families required grassroots action, and so the group Women for Life on Earth was born. After a march from Cardiff to Greenham Common, Berkshire, to protest nuclear missiles being stationed on the RAF base, the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp was established and lasted for 19 long years; Despite the rain and snow, the all-female camp stood strong and protested against the dangers that threatened the children of the nation from the presence of the doomsday weapons in the country’s back garden.

The documentary by director Briar March tells the story of these women, through their eyes and with the use of actors in reenactments of the most important moments of their campaign. Visually, the documentary is of very high quality, taking advantage of the abundance of news material, newspaper clippings and photographs from the period and mixing it up with a combination of graphics and timely interviews with some of the group’s leading members. It won’t come as a surprise either that the subject matter is pleasantly gripping, as the documentary takes a firm, first-hand look at the stories and narrative that are unraveling.

The film consistently builds in gravitas and risk alongside its real-life heroines, adding a strong sense of realism to its narrative by guiding audiences through the terribly bold encounters some of the protesters have witnessed, from tents set on fire outside the airfield to the lobbying work of politicians in Russia despite threats from the KGB. The documentary is the perfect portrayal of democracy in action and an amazing tribute to the women who risked everything in their search for demilitarization.

The pitfalls lie in the imbalance of the film. Mothers of the Revolution is presented as a Cold War documentary about the women who, through their perseverance and bold action, have changed the course of history, but it does so through an activist lens enveloped in romance. In the end, one of the Greenham Women says that it was the protests that led to the end of the Cold War – and without a counter-argument, the idea is unquestionably sold. Did Greenham Common Peace Camp cause world leaders to think, “The locals are a nuisance, let’s end up insured for one another? Destruction “? A majority can argue no, and this must be shown in the documentation.

The viewer is also asked a curious question of morality, with conflicting voices claiming that they acted for the safety of their children but left their children at home in the process. These are just chunks of moral food for thought left as credits, of course, and in general, Mothers of the Revolution is a proud sentimental journey that brings the unsung heroes the never-ending respect they deserve.

Guy Lambert

Mothers of the Revolution has no UK release date yet.

Read more reviews and interviews from our coverage of the London Film Festival 2021 here.

More information about the festival can be found here on the official BFI website.

Watch the Mothers of the Revolution trailer here: