By Ruth Rowland
Tell It to the Bees is a British drama film directed by Annabel Jankel and starring Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger. Based on the novel of the same name by Fiona Shaw, it tells the story of a controversial romance between two women in postwar Scotland.
After discussing the project with the director, I spent some time studying the calligraphy and hand lettering of the period, initially we looked at both the wonderful commercial lettering often seen in 1950’s magazines and also the more sensitive artisanal lettering, which can be seen in the beautiful crafted wood and stone engravings of the period.
We decided on a more artisanal approach to complement the contemplative bee sequence in the opening credits. Working with traditional italic forms and flourished capitals, my aim was to create a sense of tension between the restraint of the letterforms and the flight of the calligraphic line, reflecting the themes of constraint and abandon within the film.