Blue Pen is a two-channel experimental short film about censorship and the disappearance of dissenting voices.
Censorship of journalists’ voices during World War 1 was paramount. Initially barred from entering the battlegrounds, journalists were then threatened with execution. A handful made it to the front, embedded in the British Army. A precious few defied the ban, living like outlaws in France and smuggling their reports back home. Some were decorated on return.
Dorothy Lawrence was 19, a little known journalist with huge ambition. Refused permission from her Editors, she funded her own expedition to frontline France, bought a bicycle and made her way to Albert in disguise. She enlisted as Sapper Denis Smith with the Royal Engineers Tunneling division where she loaded shells in the trenches, keeping a journal throughout her 15 days under fire.
The War Office embargoed Dorothy Lawrence’s writing. She spent 39 years in Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum (later known as Friern hospital) where she died in 1964.
Blue Pen is an experimental film looking at censorship; the censorship of women’s voices; the disappearances and the execution of women journalists.
From the rigorous censoring of writers during World War 1, to the execution of women journalists today, successive governments have shut women down; Women who simply want to tell the truth of what is happening. For telling the truth just might save lives.
Excerpt from Blue Pen: