Polite Society

If you already own sunglasses, go and put them on now. If you don’t, then go and buy some. That’s because LWLies issue 98 is one of the most brightly coloured issues we’ve ever made, and that’s saying something. Our cheerfully florid colour scheme forms a perfect match with cover film Polite Society, about an angry young woman whose dream of becoming a stuntwoman is put on hold when she has to prevent her sister from marrying a wealthy and possibly sinister bachelor.

As paid-up fans of Nida Manzoor’s Channel 4 sitcom, We Are Lady Parts, anticipation levels were already unfeasibly high for the writer-director’s transition to the big screen. And with its gymnastic camera movements, snappy editing and numerous cinematic reference points, We Are Lady Parts perhaps concealed Manzoor’s desire to move in that direction. Polite Society sits comfortably in the rich continuum of films which explore the lives of South Asian families both adapting to the landscape of contemporary Britain, and forging their own idiosyncratic path.

Yet it’s the lively genre twist which makes Polite Society feel like a world away from classic Brit diaspora dramas such as Bhaji on the Beach and Bend it Like Beckham. Manzoor draws in the colours, tones and musicality of Bollywood, as well as the bone-crunching but comic violence that is integral to martial arts classics featuring the likes of Sammo Hung, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.

On the cover of the issue we have Polite Society’s boisterous lead Priya Kansara who plays scorned sister Ria with a blend of desperation and outright fury. With our design, we wanted to pay homage to the film’s comic energy, as it feels like the sort of thing that’s been adapted from your favourite graphic novel. It’s a film we love, and an issue we’re tremendously proud of. We hope it will operate as a delightful amuse bouche prior to the film’s UK release on 21 April and also a keepsake for the inevitable long term fandom it generates – especially once Nida strikes it big in Hollywood, as we’re sure she will.

On the cover

It’s a thrill for us to announce a collaboration with Pakistani illustrator Shehzil Malik, whose work focuses primarily on women’s stories from her home country. Her amazing portfolio can be viewed at shehzil.com.

Elsewhere in the issue we have excellent new work from artists Stéphanie Sergeant, Shin-Yeon Moon, Suleman Aqeel Khilji, Dan Evans and Vidhya Nagarajan.

In this issue

Lead Review: Polite Society
Fatima Sheriff writes in praise of Nida Manzoor’s exuberant feature debut.

The Big Boss
Soma Ghosh in conversation with writer/director Nida Manzoor on fighting, feminism and generational schisms.

Make ’Em Laugh
A brief history of filmmakers who have made sitcoms (and sitcom makers who have directed films).

Fist of Fury
Hannah Strong meets Polite Society’s feisty lead, Priya Kansara, to talk the epic prep required to play a teen stuntwoman-in-the-making.

Way of the Dragon
David Jenkins chats to Ritu Arya about her eclectic career path and forging bonds with the cast and crew of Polite Society.

Throwing Punches
Anna Bogutskaya meets Shaina West, a social media sensation and movie stuntwoman on the cusp of superstardom.

Pitch Perfect
Three essays looking back at the Brit-Asian sensation, Bend it Like Beckham, on the occasion of its 20th birthday.

The Walking of Peckham 123
Rōgan Graham takes a stroll around the haunts of Peckham and Brixton with Rye Lane director, Raine Allen-Miller.

On the Wall
A confessional dossier in which a host of LWLies writers tell us about how they decorated their teenage bedroom walls.

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About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.