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Celeste is a computer clerk in a bank who becomes fascinated by the relationship between gold and power. Ruby is an enigmatic film star in quest of her childhood, her memories and the truth about her own identity. As their paths cross they come to sense that there could be a link between the male struggle for economic supremacy and the female ideal of mysterious but impotent beauty. The ground-breaking first feature of Sally POTTER, The Gold Diggers is a key film of early Eighties feminist cinema. Made with an all-woman crew, featuring stunning photography by Babette MAGOLTE and a score by Lindsay COOPER it embraces a radical and experimental narrative structure.
A Marxist feminist magical mystery musical led by Julie CHRISTIE as Ruby, the female star who escapes the screen, The Gold Diggers has been one of cinema’s best-kept secrets. Championed by feminist film critics such as B. Ruby RICH, it was slated by male critics running scared of a story that sees the two female leads – Christie, and Colette LAFFONT (star of Thriller) –ride off together on a white horse.
The stakes are high as Ruby escapes from the strange rituals that keep her prisoner; with the help of Celeste, she undoes decades of loss, recovering memories of her mother. Celeste, meanwhile, strikes the motherlodeas her investigations connect the gold standard, gold mining, and the gold (cinema) star. Spirals of memory, dream and desire come alive through avant-garde dance, silent film pastiche, and costume drama that slides into slapstick as ball-gowned women drop the men and dance together.
What’s at stake is nothing less than cinema itself: “born in a beam of light,” Ruby crosses the divide to live free and remind us that we can do the same. As Celeste concludes, “Even as I look, and even as I see, I am changing what is there.” (Sophie MAYER)
Sally POTTERSally POTTER
Sally POTTER’s bold adaptation of Virginia WOOLF’s classic novel, Orlando, was nominated for two Academy Awards and brought her work to a wider audience. It was followed by The Tango Lesson, The Man Who Cried, Yes, Rage and Ginger & Rosa. She has also directed many short films, a television series, opera and other live work. Her films have won over forty international awards and received both Academy Award and BAFTA nominations. She has had full career retrospectives of her work at the BFI Southbank, London, MoMA, New York, and the Cinematheque, Madrid. She was awarded an OBE in 2012. Her book Naked Cinema was published in 2014. Her latest work is The Party (2017).