Celebrating queer cinema
BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival from 16th – 26th March
The gays take over the Southbank again for the 31st BFI Flare next month and the programme is packed with movies you will only ever have a chance to see there.
The opening film is Against the Law, a world premiere British drama starring Daniel Mays and Mark Gatiss, tracing a real life 1960s affair between a writer and a soldier that ended up in court. This is part of a strand of films and events that coincide with the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in England and Wales in 1967. There’s also Pride?, which documents the history of gay marches.
The festival’s centrepiece film is Torrey Pines, an autobiographical psychedelic stop-motion animated musical about a child grappling with gender identity. It will be accompanied by a live score from queercore band Your Heart Breaks.
Also worth keeping an eye out for is the world premiere presentation of After Louie, a New York romance starring Alan Cumming as an artist who falls for a much younger man. Handsome Devil is an Irish comedy with Andrew Scott, centring on the unlikely friendship between a lonely teen and his beefy rugby player roommate. And Out of Iraq is a bold documentary about two Iraqi soldiers who fell in love during the war.
The programme is packed with films about gay men all over the world. There’s Andre Techiné’s superb teen drama Being 17 from France; the surreal odyssey The Ornithologist from Portugal; the teen romance Centre of My World from Austria; controversial queer monster movie The Untamed from Mexico; teasingly super sexy Taekwondo from Argentina; hot gay action in Body Electric from Brazil; graphic drama Jesús from Chile; father-son road movie Dear Dad from India; and from Iceland, Heartstone is a dark teen drama that won the Queer Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
There’s also a chance to catch this year’s astonishingly beautiful Best Picture Oscar winner Moonlight with an appreciative gay audience, as well as Xavier Dolan’s excellent dysfunctional family drama It’s Only the End of the World. Plus a programme of camp classics like Barbarella, Mommie Dearest and the unmissable Can’t Stop the Music.
Finally, events every day will explore issues, provide space for interaction and give everyone a chance to let their hair down and party. Sexit is a debate about the UK’s new anti-porn laws, which disproportionally target queer artists. Ace filmmaker Jamie Babbit (But I’m a Cheerleader) will discuss her body of work. Surprising Ancestors will unearth classic queer silent movies from the BFI Archive. There are several programmes of short films for boys and/or girls, a Big Gay Film Quiz, an interactive theatre event, and a series of club nights with top DJs.
This only barely scratches the surface of what’s on offer at Flare, so it’s worth going online to check out the full programme and book tickets as early as possible. Note that evening and weekend screenings tend to book early.