Anyway, that's the windup, here's the pitch. Read Tilda Swinton's beautiful and brilliant May 4, 2006 address to the San Francisco International Film Festival. I'll post this snarky bit to draw you in, but it's the poetry that happens elsewhere that compensates the price of the ticket:
Last year, in the course of my recently developed pastime as studio spy, in the process of promoting two fantasy films for different Hollywood studios, I was advised on the proper protocol for talking about religion in America today. In brief, the directive was, hold your hands high where all can see them, step away from the vehicle and enunciate clearly, nothing to declare.
At the press conference in London for Disney's film, I was asked to chilling frisson in response, if I were still a member of the Communist Party. A friendly Spanish journalist reassured me later, sotto voce and with apology for her (American) colleague, that in Spain things are more clearly understood. The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.
The fact is, as I clarified that day, I never stopped being a communist. The fact IS that the Communist Party of Great Britain no longer exists as such. That the party was morphed into the democratic left over ten years ago. That my membership of the party was an act of faith born out of an alliance with ideals of fairness and a commitment to a welfare state that it was clear to me then was in the process of being deserted by the parliamentary left.
But I love the idea of goose-stepping old Walt D. making over $700 million dollars with the help of a Red Witch. He is more than welcome. At least we made her whiter than white, the ultimate white supremacist, and we managed to railroad the kneejerk attempt to make her look like an Arab. And maybe, just maybe, on top of all that, Disney might have ended up underwriting the most expensive advertisement teaser for Derek Jarman's and Lynn Hershman's back catalogue that any of us could ever have imagined. Besides, I always was a believer in the essential message of the Narnia film -- in my universe, beavers CAN talk. The rampant old church that cinema is. You never can tell who's gonna jump up into the pulpit.