Cinema-goers in the Algarve are soon to be treated to Calendar Girls, a film starring Julie Walters, Helen Mirren, Annette Crosbie and John Alderton, based on a true story of a Women’s Institute fundraising event. The group wanted to raise money for a local hospital and two of the more adventurous members of the group hit on the idea of having themselves photographed doing typical women’s institute activities – such as cake baking, flower arranging and singing – in the nude. A hilarious but poignant portrayal of middle-aged women making fools of themselves, but with a serious twist, as marriages and friendships suffer as a result.
The true story behind the film, which is based on the Yorkshire Dales Rylstone and District Women’s Institute, was remarkable in itself. The group sold around 300,000 calendars in 2000, attracting national and international media interest and earning £600,000 for leukaemia research, made more poignant as one of the Rylstone ladies lost her husband to the illness. The Yorkshire ladies were on hand during the making of the film to share their experiences.
The film has been compared with The Full Monty and Billy Elliot and it shares some of the writer’s sense of portraying real life drama mixed with humour. Calendar Girls features some of Britain’s best-known actors to play the parts of the middle-aged ladies and their husbands. Little did these Yorkshire women know that their brave act was going to set them on the path of international celebrity status virtually overnight.
The film is showing at SBC International Cinemas, Forum Algarve, Faro, from Thursday April 29. Miss it at your peril! SR