Mothers of the Revolution
Mothers of the Revolution tells the story of one of the longest protests in history, when between 1981 and 2000, thousands of women from around the world came together at Greenham Common to take a committed stand against nuclear proliferation. Minimised by the media, the film reveals the women as the Cold War heroes they were, who persisted in the face of arrests, condemnation and scorn, took on a superpower, and changed the world.
In January 1981, US President Ronald Reagan swept into power with a mission to out-develop and out-spend on nuclear technologies against the Soviet Union – the Cold War ideological foe of the West.
That September, in response to the growing East-West tensions, the Welsh group ‘Women for Life on Earth’ walked 120 miles as a living protest against the British Government’s decision to allow US nuclear cruise missiles to be stored at the Royal Air Force base at Greenham Common, 60 miles southwest of London.
It was, initially unwittingly, the beginning of a nineteen year movement which helped bring about the end of the Cold War and helped reshape our future.
Forty years later, the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp remains shrouded in myth and allegory. Media reporting reinforced an image of wild protestors chained to fences, ignoring the true story of brave and principled women who stood up to the very real threat to humanity and confronted the growing nuclear madness.
At its heart, Mothers of the Revolution is a Cold War drama-thriller, a tale filled with the tension of a spy novel, with furtive trips behind the Iron Curtain into Soviet Russia, infiltrations of top secret military bases, and messages passed under cover of darkness.
It’s also a story of love – love of family, of children, and of each other – and of bitter conflicts that pitted mother against son, and husband against wife.
Most importantly, it’s a story of enduring morality, sacrifices, and a commitment to a higher cause.
With the nuclear disarmament treaty these women worked so hard to put in place expiring two years ago, we’re closer to midnight on the doomsday clock than we were in 1981.
In a climate where the issues facing humanity can seem insurmountable, in a time when it can feel that we as individuals can't make a difference, the story of the mothers of the revolution is a powerful antidote.
These everyday human beings began with that first step on their march to Greenham Common and became the heroes of a movement that changed the world.
2021: BFI London Film Festival, Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival