The Mitfords: A Tale Of Two Sisters

Director: Edward Cotterill

Country: United Kingdom (2017)


The ideological turbulence of the twentieth century played out in dramatic micro in the Mitford family where two sisters, Diana and Jessica, became avowed political enemies.

The Mitfords: A Tale of Two Sisters delves deeper into the compelling lives of the Mitfords, a well-known aristocratic English family of seven children (six girls and one boy) who were caught up in and torn apart by the culture wars of the 1930s.

None more so than Diana and Jessica who became a Nazi and a Communist respectively. The sisters were estranged for most of their lives.

The twentieth century played out in dramatic micro in the Mitford family…

Diana married Oswald Moseley the head of the British Union of Fascists in a wedding ceremony conducted in the home of Goebbels and attended by Hitler.
Jessica, by severe contrast, completely renounced her aristocratic past, fought with the communists in the Spanish civil war and chose a life of voluntary poverty in what she believed was solidarity with the working class.

In even more radical circumstances, their younger sister Unity also became a part of the Nazi inner circle and was rumoured to been romantically involved with Hitler. When the United Kingdom declared war on Germany in 1939, a distraught Unity attempted suicide in the English Garden in Munich by shooting herself in the head. Her attempt failed, but she was an invalid for the rest of her life.

Jessica Mitford in her autobiography Hons and Rebels (1960) later wrote that as adolescents, living at home, she and Unity had drawn a dividing line in their shared room, with Unity’s fascist paraphernalia on one side and Jessica’s bust of Lenin on the other. Little did the precocious sisters know then how those childish games would later evolve into something far darker and catastrophic.

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