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  • Writer's pictureEugene

The Lost King (2022)

If people’s smiles as they left the hall could work as an exit poll, The Lost King seemed to be one of our most popular films. We also had a good number for our discussion including a couple of new faces and a surprise visitor from San Francisco.

Our discussion group agreed that it was an excellent, gripping film, with Sally Hawkins, the lead actor, being particularly praised. Our discussion leader raised the point about usurping being a possible theme, with Philippa Langley’s achievements being sidelined by Leicester University. We also heard that there was another woman historian involved in the excavation who was not given any credit.

We shared a few thoughts about disability – how Richard lll’s twisted spine was linked with being a twisted person. One of our participants told us Tudor and Jacobeans saw disability as a moral disease. However, the East German 1957 children’s TV drama ‘The Singing Ringing Tree’, that many of us remembered from childhood, still had an evil dwarf. It was pleasing to see Philippa’s ME being treated sensitively.

We liked Philippa’s qualities of perseverance and humility and the way in which her husband, perhaps unexpectedly, redeemed himself. We talked for a while about the importance of instinct and intuition when researching.

Was Richard lll “a ruthless operator”? We were reminded that history is written by victors. It was suggested that we read Josephine Tey’s ‘Daughter of Time’.

Our American guest told a charming story about a chance meeting with a British woman in San Francisco, who told him about being in Leicester and seeing the funeral procession with a cascade of white roses being thrown at the coffin. He also shared how he felt the film reflected that we are “political animals” and how certain themes play out again and again through history. Philippa was the outsider.

Talking about the appreciated short films led to us sharing stories of people we knew who mudlarked in the Thames and Hastings and other finds.

Anne Goldstein

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