Occasional Evenings: My Beautiful Laundrette — a Screening and Discussion

BISR Central
68 Jay Street, #425
Brooklyn, NY 11201

When Stephen Frears’s My Beautiful Laundrette premiered in 1985, it captured the mood of a nation profoundly affected by Thatcherite politics and economic policy, zeroing in with lyrical verve on the contradictions these fostered: the promise of autonomy implicit in a free enterprise system, the reality of government austerity and its exacerbation of simmering social tensions. Omar—a young British-Pakistani man toggling between his father’s political disillusionment and his uncle’s scheming optimism—rekindles a childhood friendship, soon to become adult romance, with Johnny, a white British man whose wayward adolescence had left him lost and consorting with skinheads. At once a product of the world of 1980s Britain—the film was originally commissioned by Channel 4, a new public television station charged with engaging Britain’s minority populations—and a response to it, the film not only launched the career of a young Daniel Day-Lewis (Johnny), but shot its screenwriter Hanif Kureishi to fame and made the burgeoning reputation of Working Title Films. Softening a gritty social realism with an almost dreamlike atmosphere, how did Frears’s aesthetics open up new cinematic possibilities, both for socially-conscious filmmaking and for queer representation?

Join us Wednesday, June 12th, at BISR Central, for a special Pride-month screening and discussion of My Beautiful Laundrette with BISR faculty Rebecca Ariel Porte and Isi Litke, in which we’ll ask, narratively and cinematically: how does queer desire traverse lines of class and race? How are homophobia and moral panic in the face of the AIDS crisis negotiated by immigrant communities squeezed by austerity, under pressure to assimilate, and struggling to preserve an ethnic identity?

The event is free with a suggested $10 donation. As always, beer, wine, seltzer, and snacks will be served. Please RSVP below.

Event Schedule

Wednesday, 7:00pm ET
June 12, 2024

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