This week’s Monday Movie Tip is the screening of the noble drama The Elephant Man, David Lynch’s second feature film from 1980. If you haven’t seen this classic then it’s a must. It will be shown at the BFI Southbank cinema tomorrow, Tuesday, the 12th of November at 6:10 PM and for a second time on Friday, the 15th of November at 8:30 PM. The tickets are priced at £8.50 for student non-members and £7 for student BFI members. The film is based on the true story of Joseph Carey Merrick, an Englishman with severe deformities who was exhibited at freak shows as a human curiosity in the late nineteenth century. Whilst his physical condition sentenced him to a life as an outcast, his warm personality and friendship with the surgeon Frederick Treves secured him a room in the Royal London Hospital for the last years of his life.
This is the saddest cinema can get and it’s certainly not the right thing to watch if you intend to socialise afterwards. Instead the film will challenge you profoundly to see the genuine beauty and kindness of the human being behind his monstrous deformities. The cruelty and injustices that the elephant man has to face are hard to bear throughout and the film is guaranteed to stir up the emotions of even the most desensitised and hardened of people. So if you ever wanted to test your capacity to empathise, then this film is all you need. In the words of John Hunt, the actor who played the role of the elephant man: “If you could manage to get to the end of The Elephant Man without being moved I don’t think you’d be someone I’d want to know