The latest news from Cannes teases a new directorial debut to look forward to. Deadline reports that “Blue Jean,” written and directed by Georgia Oakley, is among the many tantalizing titles hitting the movie market this year. They describe the British film as an “identity drama set during Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as British Prime Minister”.
Set in 1988, the film follows a gay PE teacher, Jean (Rosy McEwen, “The Alienist”) who is forced to live a double life when the Thatcher government passes a new law that stigmatizes the LGBTQ+ community. But, details the source, “when a new student arrives and threatens to expose him, Jean is pushed to the extreme to keep his job and his integrity”.
The law, known as Section 28, prohibited – among other things – teachers from promoting in schools “the acceptability of homosexuality as a purported family relationship”. Indeed, it prevented teachers and people working for local authorities from even acknowledging the existence of homosexuality, and although the law was repealed in 2000 in Scotland, in 2003 in most of England and of Wales, and in 2004 in its entirety, the law’s legacy extended well beyond those years, with an enduring culture of shame and homophobia fostered in schools – with teachers, for a long time , powerless to intervene.
The film, which is in post-production, also stars Kerrie Hayes (“Tin Star”) and Stacy Abalogun (“Death on the Nile”), with Hélène Sifre of Kleio Films producing. The film has backing from BBC Film and the BFI, while Film Constellation has boarded sales.
Oakley is the writer-director of the shorts “Hush” and “Callow & Sons,” and also directed the documentary short “We Did Not Fall from the Sky.” Another of his shorts, “Little Bird,” was nominated for Best Narrative Short in Tribeca and is currently in development as a television series.