The celebrated author (Brass, Once upon a Time in England, Go to Sleep and The Lemon Grove) has made her directorial debut with The Violators, a gritty coming of age drama about a young woman’s attempts to navigate life in a brutal housing estate with the looming threat of dangerous men lurking around every corner. A bruising look at the soft insides of a girl who has had to wear her toughness like armour in order to survive – and the predatory forces that try to prise open her hardened exterior in order to exploit it, The Violators is a striking first film.
The Warrington-born writer told the BFI’s Nicki Baughan that her work often focuses on women was a deliberate response. “Not being able to find the female characters in fiction, or film for that matter, [my writing] was a reaction. It was a rage.”
In an interview with We Are Colony, Helen described herself as “a huge fan of Jacques Audiard – his films are sexy, sensual experiences. I love the type of gutsy, vulnerable and fraught masculinity he evokes from his leads: Romain Duris, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tahar Rahim.” With The Violators, she takes those ideals and puts them in a feminine context – her heroine Shelly (the brilliant Lauren McQueen) is as sensual, gutsy, vulnerable and fraught as any of Audiard’s men. Read the rest of We Are Colony’s interview here!