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MSU Cinema International Presents "Victoria and Abdul" This Weekend

Victoria and Abdul
MSU Cinema International presents "Victoria and Abdul" on Thursday, September 8th, and Saturday, September 10th.

Murray State's Cinema International program presents the 2017 UK film Victoria and Abdul this Thursday and Saturday. Austin Carter speaks to program director Dr. Thérèse St. Paul ahead of the free public screenings.

From the MSU Cinema International website:

"Judi Dench 'revisits the role of Queen Victoria two decades after first playing the indomitable Mrs. Brown.' This tells the extraordinary true story of the aged and bored Queen Victoria, who finds a burst of joy and interest in India (the colony which she is barred from visiting) through her conversations with Abdul Karim, a Muslim envoy who teaches her Urdu and the Quran.

Their devoted friendship is deemed subversive and despised by the Queen's household and entourage. Stephen Frears' film opens a vista on Victoria's remarkable character and the clash that existed between her and the rigid rules of the English monarchy."

The film surrounds Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, St. Paul explains. "Saluting her 50 years of her rule over the British and the empire. It seems like the British queens have something in common—they're extraordinary women. They're feared a bit by the people around them. They also live to quite a ripe age. They have a very solemn sense of duty, and that's something that's really coming through in this movie."

The film is also "typically British," St. Paul continues. "We have the British form, the attitude, understatement. Then you'll also see the restrains, the coercion, that are put upon the crown and the royalties, who are also tied by all sorts of rules and regulations. They're not allowed to do everything they want. Although they have a certain amount of power, they're still tied to tradition."

"I think what's interesting too is that we see that back in the 19th century, there were a lot of people who didn't know much about India unless they'd been there. There was a bit of a mystique—Indian rugs and Indian culture were known directly through goods. But the character—the Indian character, the temperament, the culture in-depth, was not really well-known, nor did they have much interest in it. [The film] shows that Victoria did show an interest in Indian culture, especially the Muslim culture."

Victoria and Abdul was requested and sponsored by the Murray State University History Department. Dr. Kathy Callahan, the department chair, will be at both screenings to introduce and discuss the historical context of the movie.

MSU Cinema International presents Victoria and Abdul on Thursday, September 8th, in the Barkley Room, and Saturday, September 10th, in the Curris Center Theater. Both screenings start at 7:30 pm and are located on the third floor of the Curris Center. They are free and open to the public.

For more information on the Cinema International program, including how to donate, visit its website.

Austin Carter is a Murray State grad and has been involved with WKMS since he was in high school. Over the years he has been a producer for WKMS and has hosted several music shows, but now calls Morning Edition his home each weekday morning.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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