‘Loving’ a powerful film on real-life couple’s legal fight to have marriage recognized

In “Loving,” Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton star as real-life couple Mildred and Richard Loving. (Pictures by TIFF)

In “Loving,” Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton star as real-life couple Mildred and Richard Loving. (Pictures by TIFF)

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By Malkanthie Abeyewardene

Writer director Jeff Nichol’s Loving had its North American premier at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The director and the cast attended the red carpet Gala event held at Roy Thomson Hall on Sunday, September 11th. In May of this year Loving had its world premiere at the Cannes Festival in France.

Jeff Nichols has written the screenplay using the background of the documentary, ‘The Story of Loving’ directed by Nancy Buirski in 2011 which based on a true and a sensitive story of Richard and Mildred Loving who were married in Virginia in 1958. Just few days after their marriage the county police broke into their house and arrested the couple. The Civil Rights Law was at its inception at the time and they were not supposed to get married because she was colored and he was white. At that time, inter-racial marriages were forbidden in the United States. They were given two choices. To serve a prison term of one year or leave the state of Virginia for 25 years and never to come back together. They both accepted to leave the state, where they grew up together with their families and loved ones. Without protesting or weeping they decided to follow the path of legal looking for avenues to reach their goal of success.

 

 Director Jeff Nichols attends the "Loving" premiere during the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall.

Director Jeff Nichols attends the “Loving” premiere during the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall.

Richard is a quiet, inarticulate construction worker who builds small buildings making cement blocks using a small machine. He lines up the cement blocks and makes cement mixer to keep them together. He had lots of patience and courage to face the unexpected situation just after their marriage. Before the marriage, when they were walking along the lush green field Richard asked Mildred, “can I build you a house in the middle of this field?” The Australian actor, Joel Edgerton plays the role of Richard while Michael Shannon plays a supporting role, as a photographer of the Life magazine. Half-Irish Ruth Negga plays the role of Mildred.

At the interview on the red carpet Jeff told the press he never knew such a thing happened in the real life story, while he was studying or even in the university. “I am shame of myself for not knowing the touching slice of history, an internationally important story.” Now I think ‘Loving’ will be a cinematic history lesson”. He further added. Nick Kroll, who plays the role of an ACLU lawyer said he did a dramatic role for a good reason. “It’s an honor to be a part of this historical true story”, he concluded.
24th annual Hampton International Film Festival (HIFF) opened on October 6th with Jeff Nichol’s “Loving” and won the award for Social Justice. Mark Rabinowitz presented the award given on behalf of his parents.

Jeff Nichols was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. He studied filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He has written and directed the films Shotgun Stories (07) Take Shelter (11) which played at the festival. His other films Mud (12) and Midnight Special early this year.
Loving will be released on November 4th in select cities.