The UK Premiere of Ammonite will screen to audiences at BFI Southbank and in selected cinemas across the UK
Francis Lee’s drama, a lesbian love story about 19th century English palaeontologist Mary Anning and a young woman she is asked to take under her wing, has been selected as the closing film for his year’s London Film Festival.
The film will receive its UK premiere on Saturday 17 October and will be available to UK audiences at cinemas across UK – who will also enjoy a virtual introduction from Lee and key cast.
Ammonite brings to life in vivid detail the life of a woman unappreciated in her own time. A pioneering palaeontologist and passionate fossil collector, Anning’s findings contributed to changes in scientific thinking around the prehistory of the Earth and saw her named as one of the most influential women in British scientific history by the Royal Society after her death.
In the 1840s, acclaimed self-taught paleontologist Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) works alone on the wild and brutal Southern English coastline of Lyme Regis. The days of her famed discoveries behind her, she now hunts for common fossils to sell to rich tourists to support herself and her ailing widowed mother.
When one such tourist, Roderick Murchison, arrives in Lyme on the first leg of a European tour, he entrusts Mary with the care of his young wife Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan), who is recuperating from a personal tragedy. Mary, whose life is a daily struggle on the poverty line, cannot afford to turn him down but, proud and relentlessly passionate about her work, she clashes with her unwanted guest. They are two women from utterly different worlds. Yet despite the chasm between their social spheres and personalities, Mary and Charlotte discover they can each offer what the other has been searching for: the realisation that they are not alone. It is the beginning of a passionate and all-consuming love affair that will defy all social bounds and alter the course of both lives irrevocably.
Writer-director Francis Lee said: “I’m thrilled Ammonite has been chosen to close the BFI London Film Festival. In these incredibly difficult times, it’s wonderful to see this film about intimacy, love and hope getting its U.K. premiere at LFF.”
The film is co-financed by the BFI (awarding National Lottery funding) and BBC Films. See-Saw Films developed the film with the BFI and BBC Films. The BFI’s relationship with Lee goes back to 2015 with his hugely successful debut, God’s Own Country, which received development and production funding. The film is produced by Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly.