Inspired by the real-life story of Dido Elizabeth Belle – a young, illegitimate mixed-race woman bought up in an aristocratic family in 18th Century England – 'Belle' opens in UK cinemas today.
Caught between a privileged social standing and the racist attitudes of her time, Belle struggled to know her place in a rhostile British culture. Her great-uncle – Lord Mansfield – however, was Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and historians believe his close relationship with Belle served to shape his views on slavery, which would eventually lead to its abolition and pave the way for modern equality.
'Belle' is set to be a hit on the silver screen. Featuring a star-studded cast including Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Tom Felton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, it explores the complexities of Colonial attitudes towards race and class as navigated by someone both bound and alienated by convention, and has already been hailed by the Guardian for its "touching" portrayal.
Damaris is offering free resources to pick up on the themes woven throughout Belle's inspiring story. A limited edition pack is available to order, and an online selection of Tools for Talks illustrations is also on offer, containing clips from the film and suggestions of how to use them in a church context. Take a look here, and watch the trailor below: