The BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival kicks off in London tonight (16 March), starting 10 days of queer film celebration in the capital.
After kicking off with the world premiere of Fergus O’Brien’s upcoming BBC Two draman Against the Law at BFI Southbank, the festival will showcase more than 50 feature films and 100 shorts over the next week and a half, as well as hosting a range of other events, guest appearances and workshops.
Luckily, there are still tickets available for screenings of some amazing LGBT films, both old and new. Check out the best of what’s still on offer below:
I Love You Both
Fraternal twins Donny and Krystal do everything together. Not just siblings, the pair are also best friends and roommates, perfectly contented in their warm bubble of co-dependency. However, their comfortable routine is thrown into a tailspin one night when they meet Andy – handsome, charismatic and bisexual. Powerless to resist the charms of this mystery man, the smitten duo soon find themselves in dangerous territory. And worse still, it seems that Andy has a thing for both of them. Starring opposite his real-life sister Kristin (who also co-wrote the film), writer/director Doug Archibald’s deadpan debut offers up laughs and insight in equal measure. Skilfully avoiding cliché and replete with plenty of surprises, this is a rom-com for anyone who thinks they’ve seen it all before and proves you don’t have to be saccharine to be sweet.
Tickets for Wednesday 22 March 2017 at 20:50 here.
18-year-old Jesús lives with his stern, somewhat unaffectionate father in Santiago, Chile. When not doing drugs, having casual sex or simply slouching in front of the T, Jesús and his friends perform in a K-pop boyband. But his routine is thrown into chaos one evening when he and his drunken posse viciously assault a young gay man and leave him for dead. It’s an act that propels Jesús into a profound moral crisis which has severe consequences. After the unexpected vibrancy of the pop-fuelled opening scenes, Fernando Guzzoni’s remarkable film morphs into a dark – both thematically and stylistically – study of directionless youth which can be tough to watch. Ethically complex and emotional ambiguous, this is a sexually explicit, often uncomfortably violent film, presented with stark naturalism and a disquieting lack of sentiment.
Tickets for Tuesday 21 March 2017 at 20:30 or Friday 24 March 2017 at 13:50 here.
Pride? (Work In Progress Preview Screening)
Pride began as a protest and has taken off around the world as a celebratory symbol of freedom, democracy and human rights. As the mainstream march in London draws larger crowds than ever before, off-shoots have also started to take root, signalling a major shift in queer culture and organising. What does it mean to be proud amid discussions about racism, homonationalism and capitalism? Equally, what does it mean to critique the event when 49 innocent people were murdered in Orlando last summer? Pride? is a provocative and intelligent documentary detailing the history of the movement and exuding compassion for the many – often conflicting – parts of the LGTBQ community. With wonderful, articulate commentary from the organisers of Black Pride, Queer Picnic, Pride London and Lesbian Strength – among others – Pride? is a genuine community effort that seeks to answer a simple but profound question about the future of this iconic march.
Tickets for Saturday 25 March 2017 18:20 or Sunday 26 March 2017 13:00 here.
The Trans List
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders returns with another instalment of the ‘List’ series, following his successful HBO series The Black List, The Latino List and The Out List. This time, 11 of the most visible people in the global trans community tell their personal histories in a succession of candid vignettes. Janet Mock, Buck Angel, Caroline Cossey, Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner and Amos Mac are among the proud participants sharing their individual stories of trans realisation, acceptance, coming out and their subsequent life experiences. With greater visibility today than ever before, this film captures some of the most famed and courageous contemporary pioneers of and champions for trans rights in the UK and USA who have helped take us over the tipping point.
Tickets for Thursday 23 March 2017 21:00 or Sunday 26 March 2017 14:10 here.
This powerful and affecting story of two boys in their last year at high school is anything but a standard coming-of-age tale. Damien lives on a remote farmstead where he helps his father and sick mother. Each day, he travels 90 minutes to and from school. Thomas’s father is serving in the army and his mother is the local doctor. At school the boys develop a fierce antipathy to one another. Things are made worse when family health problems prompt Thomas’s mother to take Damien into their house. Co-written by Céline Sciamma (Tomboy, Girlhood), Being 17 articulately conveys the fears, confusions and passions of late adolescence. The cinematography is rapturous and the emotions of love and hate are played out across the spectacular landscapes of the French Alps.
Tickets for Thursday 23 March 2017 18:20 or Friday 24 March 2017 15:30 here.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Sing-a-Long):
They may just be two little girls from Little Rock, but there is nothing diminutive about this glorious, jewel-encrusted Hollywood classic. Marilyn Monroe sparkles, Jane Russell smoulders and the all-male US Olympic athletics team are perhaps the campest thing you’ve ever seen, in this classic movie musical which gets a well-deserved sing-a-long treatment. There’s not a step out of place nor a misfired gag in Howard Hawks’ spectacular comedy about gold digger Lorelei and man-hungry Dorothy, two showgirls sailing to Paris with a private investigator on their tail and more diamonds than a girl could wish for. Whether you are blond, brunette, redhead or silver, we actually don’t have a preference, as long as you come dressed up in your showgirl finest and be prepared to sing your heart out!
Tickets for Monday 20 March 2017 18:30 here.
When the sudden death of his father leaves his family bankrupt, out and proud high schooler Miles fears his dreams of escaping to college will evaporate. However, he learns of a volleyball scholarship that might be the solution to his problems. There’s only one catch – his school only has a girls team. It makes a refreshing change to see a gay teen movie in which the sexual awakening of its protagonist is not the focus, and that is just one of the many ways Nathan Adloff’s winning debut offers something wonderfully unexpected. Favouring moments of subtle introspection over more bombastic coming-of-age clichés, Miles boasts an authenticity and emotional honesty that makes it something quite special.
Tickets for Tuesday 21 March 2017 18:30 or Thursday 23 March 2017 16:00 here.
‘What’s that screaming? A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming.’ A good many indeed, particularly when the 41st century Pop Art spaceship belonging to Jane Fonda’s comic book icon is stranded on the planet Lythion. She soon faces non-stop peril and super sexy situations, along with a wacky assortment of characters. This sexploitation classic exudes camp kitsch from its psychedelic opening sequence to the final, extravagant climax. More than an all-out trash fest, Barbarella has at its centre an empowered, independent female astronaut who cuts a dash as a progressive heroine. Replete with fabulous sets and space couture costumes from Paco Rabanne, director Roger Vadim imaginatively captures the both forward-looking and fun spirit of the 1960s.
Tickets for Sunday 26 March 2017 15:00 here.
Orlando: The Queer Element:
Step inside a world that breaks apart traditional boundaries between science and art as we examine notions of sex and gender from the Elizabethans through to 2017. This live cinema event for students of media, arts and sciences and the general public weaves participatory performance and debate with a 25th anniversary screening of Orlando. Through theatre, film and insights from experts in biology, psychology and the history of sexuality and genetics, we explore what it means when we call ourselves ‘girl/woman’, ‘boy/man’ and those spaces in between.
Tickets for Friday 24 March 2017 13:00 here.
Hide those wire hangers, the mother of all camp classics is coming to BFI Flare. Based on Christina Crawford’s scandalous tell-all memoir, this barmy biopic about the abusive relationship between Joan Crawford and her adopted children is an unforgettable exercise in unadulterated excess that continues to astound, horrify and delight. Director Frank Turner’s glorious mishandling of his sensitive subject matter is the stuff of Hollywood legend, dialling the melodrama up to 11 and effectively stripping the story of its emotional sincerity. And as for Faye Dunaway? Well, what is there left to say about such a deliciously unhinged performance other than to offer a heartfelt thank you? A thousand drag queens remain for ever in your debt. Do not miss this one, it is going to be wild. Now Tina, bring me the axe…
Tickets for Sunday 19 March 2017 15:30 here.
For further details about the full programme see bfi.org.uk/flare.