entertainment

12 LGBTQ films not to miss at this year's BFI Flare

The UK’s most impressive celebration of queer cinema, BFI Flare, is boldly back and going fully digital from 17-28 March.

2021-03-15

Refusing to let COVID snuff out its deliciously contagious queer creative spark, BFI Flare is back as bright as ever with another mighty line-up of premieres, UK first-run features and short films on BFI Player, 17-28 March.

Embracing the opportunities of a virtual festival, your tickets will allow you to watch films at any time during the festival, as well as offering exclusive access to Q&As with actors and directors.

Although the festival is fully digital this year, advance tickets are recommended as capacity for each screening is still limited. So, don’t dilly-dally and book today!

This year, you'll also be able to watch 38 LGBTQ short films online from anywhere in the UK absolutely free via BFI Player - click here to see what's being shown.

Here, the festival’s programmers Michael Blyth, Zorian Clayton and Brian Robinson share just a few of their favourite feature films being screen at BFI: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival this year…

Jump, Darling

A drag queen is plunging into an early mid-life crisis and after a lover’s tiff, he takes off to his grandma’s house in the countryside for a change of scene. Determined to inject some pizazz into the quiet local gay bar, he finds his once tough-talking nan has become more vulnerable with age, so rethinks his priorities.

This well-crafted intergenerational drama is both funny and heartrending with a knockout performance by 94-year-old Cloris Leachman in what would prove to be one of her final roles. (You can read more and watch the trailer here).

Firebird

In Soviet-era Estonia, a handsome junior officer discovers that an ace fighter pilot isn’t just interested in flying. The scene is set for a tense and dramatic affair as the pilot struggles to keep ahead of the military authorities as world events unfold.

Epic, romantic, beautiful and memorable, based on a true story. (You can check out an exclusive first-look clip here).

Boy Meets Boy

After meeting in a Berlin club, two guys unexpectedly catch feels for each other. But one of them is booked on a flight home in a few hours, and time is running out.

Smart, witty and incredibly insightful, this modern gay romance is a must-see for anyone who prefers their love stories served with a healthy side of realism. (Watch the trailer here).

The Dose

Deadly desires and simmering homoeroticism underscore this deliciously macabre, slow-burn psychological thriller, in which nothing is quite what it seems.

In a private clinic in rural Argentina, an introverted nurse with a dark secret finds his world turned upside down by the arrival of an attractive new co-worker who also has something to hide.

Dramarama

The night before leaving for college, a group of high-school drama nerds get together for one last sleepover. But will tonight be the night that Gene finally comes out?

Like a John Hughes movie reimagined for a queer audience, this wonderfully enjoyable teen comedy is a heartfelt love letter to all the misfits and outsiders.

Enfant Terrible

The extraordinary career and troubled personal life of pioneering German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder is brought to the screen in this no-holdsbarred biopic. A visually striking and unapologetically candid portrait of the man behind such queer classics as Fox and His Friends and The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant.

Rūrangi

This binge-worthy web series follows Caz, a trans activist who has hit hard times and returns to his rural hometown for the first time in a decade. Weighty themes are deftly handled, exploring shame and pride, family estrangement and reconnection, roots and Maori heritage, transition, love, and friendship.

Authentic and fresh, almost half the cast are trans, non-binary, and gender fluid.

Cowboys

Troy is recently released from prison and struggling with his mental health. He is supportive of his young trans son Joe, but the gender dysphoria appals Joe’s mother Sally, who responds by doubling down on the dresses. Troy is determined to let Joe live freely as a boy, so they hatch a plan to set off one night into the epic Montana forests.

This unmissable drama is a nuanced nail-biter and keeps the twists and turns rolling until the final scene.

No Ordinary Man

Directors Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt have done the legend of Billy Tipton proud. Energised by a stellar cast of diverse trans masculine talent who audition in a blind casting for the role of Billy, they illuminate the struggle such pioneers faced transitioning alone with few, if any, resources in the mid-20th century.

This original documentary also brings trans historians and musicologists into the mix as well as archival footage and rare interviews with Billy’s family.

Sublet

When a middle-aged, New York Times travel writer happens upon a disorganised, but handsome, young film-maker at his holiday sub-let in Tel Aviv, an unlikely but entertaining week of mutual discovery begins.

An inter-generational encounter that is heart-warming, sexy and compelling.

Cured

In the late 60s and early 70s, a small group of gay professionals and activists plotted behind the scenes to remove homosexuality from the definition of mental illness. This film boasts an amazing range of archive footage and original interviews with the people who took on the medical establishment and changed lives around the world.

Brilliant, empowering, essential viewing.

Poppy Field

An intense encounter with two lovers doesn’t reflect the everyday reality of a closeted policeman in Romania. An incident at a cinema where a religious right-wing group is demonstrating against gay films propels the young policeman into crisis as he is forced to confront a former lover but is terrified of how his colleagues might react.

BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival takes place digital from 17-28 March via BFI Player. Tickets are available now.