We Are Here (2019) Short Film Review

★★★★


Directed by: #EllieHodgetts

Written by: #EllieHodgetts

Starring: #TheManchesterSistersofPerpetualIndulgence


Short Film Review by: Emily Davison

The Manchester Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is examined through a selection of insightful vignettes and a series of profound news footage in this impactful documentary short.


We Are Here (2019), directed and edited by Ellie Hodgetts at the Northern Film School in Leeds Beckett University, presents the worldwide order of queer nuns whose motto is to ‘promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt’, through the lens of those at the heart of the cause. The twelve minute short implements small, interconnected narratives smoothly edited together to provide an educational, thought-provoking documentary which reveals the ceremonies and ideologies the order embody and the adversaries they face daily.

We Are Here (2019) Short Film Poster

The film focuses on a small group of members of the order – Sister Bang Bang, Sister Roly, Sister Polly and Sister Judy – with intimate personal accounts of their experiences of being discriminated against for their beliefs and identities and how they came to terms with their sexualities. Each endearingly express themselves honestly through voice overs and interviews and their inspiring bravery to speak of the challenges they have faced in the past, as well as their mission to spread joy and love in communities is admirable and creates a powerful viewing experience.


The short is expertly crafted by the team at the Northern Film School, with a strong sense of pacing as we take a few minutes to listen to the stories of the Sisters and are reminded of the horrendous verbal and physical abuse queer men have faced through samples of news reports. Ellie Hodgetts directs and edits exceptionally, contrasting the shocking brutality of the treatment queer men have and continue to receive today, with the positivity that the Sisters promote through their joyful parades and activism. A particularly powerful moment of the documentary comes when we see Sister Polly repeatedly shouting to the crowd “your are loved” and, as reinforced by Sister Bang Bang, “love never fails”, a resonating message which closes the short. The film delicately balances the flamboyant energy and positivity the Sisters promote with the derogatory and violent acts committed towards them by other human beings.


Insightful, intimate and inspiring – We Are Here explores the powerfully resonant message of acceptance and being proud of who you are, brought to fruition through a series of revealing stories from a community of emotionally honest individuals. The film is daring in its engagement with contemporary issues of male sexuality and its combination of passionate filmmaking and thought-provoking themes make this short a must watch.

#EmilyDavison


We Are Here is available to rent on the UK Film Channel.