It tells the story of a mixed-race girl who is taken in by her well-connected and wealthy great uncle, Lord Mansfield, in an 18th-century England where slavery was legal and where she faces prejudice about her origins and race.
However director Amma Assante believes that her film Belle reflects the kind of “pervasive” racism that is alive and well today.
It tells the story of the woman, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who is allowed to live in her relative’s house but not to dine with him and his white family.
And Assante believes it has resonances with today. She told RadioTimes.com: “In some ways the racism is quite subtle and quite nuanced and quite pervasive in a way and that’s very much like the kind of racism we face today.
“Particularly if we are talking about Britain and England, racism is a far more subtle danger that we have to deal with.”
Assante, a former child actor with Grange Hill, said she had experienced racism as a child growing up in south London but added: “But for every experience like that there is also the parallel experience that makes England and London in particular great and wonderful.”
“This gentleman chose to take in his great niece, the child of a slave and the child of his nephew and raise her as an aristocrat. If he could do that in in 1766, if love and courage could come together and inspire him, then what could we do with a little bit of courage and a little bit of love today? It depends on how you look at it.”
Co-star Tom Wilkinson who plays Lord Mansfield told RadioTimes.com: “The film shows how a society works which is quite an accomplishment.”
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.