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Bend It Like Beckham


Presented by VIVID x Golden Age of Humanity guest curator Saxon Mullins

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Instead of wanting to be like her older sister, who is preparing to be a traditional Indian wife, young Jess (Parminder Nagra) dreams of playing football professionally, much to her parents’ chagrin. Jules (Keira Knightley) notices Jess’s skills on the field and invites her to try out for the local women's football team. The two become close friends, bonding over parental strife, budding romances and their football-shaped dreams. Will Jess’s family accept her passion, or will she be forced to choose between her family and the sport she loves more than anything?

About the Curator: Saxon Mullins is Director of Advocacy at Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy. In 2018 Saxon appeared on Four Corner’s episode ‘I am that girl’ where she gave up her anonymity to tell the story of her 2013 sexual assault and the subsequent criminal trials and appeals. The Four Corner’s episode led to the NSW Attorney-General asking the NSW Law Reform Commission to review the section of the NSW Crimes Act that deals with consent in relation to sexual assault and has ultimately led NSW to change their laws. Saxon was the recipient of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2018 Young Persons’ Human Rights Medal. She is passionate about igniting a conversation about enthusiastic consent not only in relation to how this is dealt with under the law, but also within society.

Why See This Film

Despite the retrospective focus on launching Keira Knightley's career this is unmistakably Parminder Nagra's film and she absolutely shines in her portrayal of a teenager figuring out her place between multiple cultures. A box office and critical success, Gurinder Chadha’s Bend It Like Beckham was warmly received for its feel-good qualities, sophisticated social commentary and grounded depiction of the complexities in friendship and rivalry. Hugely influential and culturally important, it captured an effervescent early-00s optimism and remains a much-adored audience favourite more than 20 years on.

Gurinder Chadha
Keira Knightley, Parminder Nagra, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anupam Kher
112 minutes

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