This year’s BFI Flare LGBT Film Festival is a glorious celebration of queerness in all its forms, with a great line-up of films separated into thematic strands Hearts, Bodies, and Minds, as well as a retrospective of camp movies under the umbrella of Winks and Nudges, and a string of dedicated screenings of short films and webseries.
If you’re looking to go but aren’t sure what’s good, here are some of the best films screening this year.
Standing out in the Special Presentations category are closing night gala SIGNATURE MOVE, a film about a young Muslim American lesbian trying to strike balance between her family and happiness, and the World Premiere of award-winning British director Campbell X’s DIFFERENT FOR GIRLS, a 12-part web series based on Jacquie Lawrence’s indie hit novel of the same name.
In the Hearts strand we have a few melancholy romances which beg to be watched: director Maura Anderson’s debut HEARTLAND, which features Lizzie Bennett Diaries alum Laura Spencer (universally hailed as the cutest Jane Bennett to grace our screens), and So Yong Kim’s LOVESONG sees Jena Malone and Riley Keough rekindle a dormant romantic flame amid complicated personal circumstances. Honourable mentions for South Korean artist drama OUR LOVE STORY and Japanese drama WEST NORTH WEST.
Stories of transformation dominate in the Bodies strand, with documentaries FEMALE TO WHAT THE FUCK, SEXIT: What The Fuck is Happening With UK Porn Laws, and THE TRANS LIST, and fictional dramas THE HANDMAIDEN, a South Korean take on Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, and IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD, Xavier Dolan’s newest.
Some excellent documentaries can be seen as part of the Mind strand as well: from a chance to look back at the last fifty years of queer history and Laverne Cox’s documentary on Cece McDonald, FREE CECE, to legislation doc POLITICAL ANIMALS and work-in-progress screening of PRIDE? – a look into the future of queer activism and organisation.
Winks and Nudges features classics like GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (sing-along!), BARBARELLA and MOMMIE DEAREST, while the shorts programs feature talent from all over the world telling powerful stories within minutes (explore the whole lineup here).
With such an exhilarating and diverse range of films, Flare looks more exciting than ever. Make sure to queue for your favourite sold out films as last minute tickets are likely to be released, and keep your eyes peeled for any extra screenings added to the roster by checking the BFI website at http://www.bfi.org.uk/flare.