The 36th edition of BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival is at BFI Southbank this week presenting 6 World Premieres, 56 features, and 84 shorts from 42 countries.
Until 27th March 2022 One of the world’s most significant and long-standing queer film events, this year’s BFI Flare will take place in person, and offers a selection of titles available on BFI Player to UK-wide audiences, and to international audiences via Five Films for Freedom – now in its 7th year, in partnership with The British council.
This year’s BFI Flare programme demonstrates just how rich and diverse LGBTQIA+ stories in film can be. For so long, queer histories were largely hidden. It took generations of individual and communal bravery, ingenuity and struggle to make these stories visible. This 2022 edition includes previously untold stories; both imagined and those that explore personal truths and histories, spotlighting the LGBTQIA+ champions of the past.
BFI Flare closes on Saturday 26th March with the World Premiere of Kevin
Hegge’s feature documentary Tramps!, looking at 1980’s London and the unique cross-fertilization of British art, fashion, music and film that culminated in the group known as “The New Romantics”.
Amongst the other World Premiere screenings the Festival will be presenting are Jean Carlomusto’sEsther Newton Made Me Gay, exuding wisdom, passionate enquiry and a healthy dose of New York no-nonsense in this celebratory portrait of the pioneering octogenarian American academic whose life work has formed the bedrock of LGBTQIA+ cultural anthropology.
Two young men learn to navigate the Iranian courts in order to begin their transition in Saeed Gholipour’s documentary This Is Not Me; and Jacquie Lawrence’s Gateways Grind
joins Sandi Toksvig on a journey through lesbian London to uncover the history of the legendary Gatewaysclub, one of the longest running lesbian clubs ever, and the women who drank, danced and loved inside ofit.
The Festival sees a fascinating selection of documentaries which uncover lost or hidden queer family histories. The World Premiere of Jimmy In Saigonsees filmmaker Peter McDowell go on a heartfelt journey to understand the truth behind his brother’s mysterious death, while Robin Hunzinger’s strikingly poetic film, Ultraviolette And The Blood-Spitters Gang, thrillingly brings to life the long-hidden story of his grandmother’s rebellious schoolgirl sweetheart Marcelle in the 1920s.
This year’s BFI Flare Shorts programme is split across 12 thematic sessions, their section Out Here Livin’ tells Black queer stories with humour, insight and love. They include:
Taffeta, directed by Lovell Holder – A poisonous comment during phone sex results in profoundself-enquiry.
For Love, directed by Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor – Against all odds, two women try to resist being tornapart by the UK’s brutal immigration system.
A Fox in the Night, directed by Keeran Anwar Blessie – A South London story in which opposites attract, appearances deceive and bravery reaps rewards.
F^¢K ‘€M R!GHT B@¢K, directed by Harris Doran – A delightful existential comedy about work,weed and keeping the dream.
Egúngún, directed by Olive Nwosu – The power of the past spans the divide between Nigeria andthe UK in this beautiful tale of intersecting lives.
Hundefreund, directed by MaissaLihedheb – A casual hook up takes an unexpected turn in this meditation on race, politics and history.
More diverse showings include, Still We Thrive, directed by Campbell X – A rich tapestry of image, music and poetry is interwovenin this powerful meditation on Black resilience.
Justice Jamal Jones directs How to Raise a Black Boy – in this modern and surreal fairy-tale, a group of young black boys form a chosen family.
Fever, directed by Angele Cooper – A family birthday party is not what it seems in this modern parable of race and relationships.
This year’s BFI Flare programme also takes a closer look at the queer women who have shaped the face of modern music, without always getting the credit they deserve. Invisible: Gay Women In Southern Musicis a joyous celebration of the unsung heroes behind some of Country music’s biggest hits of the last four decades, and Fanny: The Right To Rock is a celebration of the 1970s rock band who were one of the first all-female bands to release an album in the U.S., and were championed by David Bowie, who claimed they were as important as The Beatles.
For those who like their music on the heavy side, Sirensis a lively, loud and empowering documentary fresh from Sundance about an all-female queer Middle Eastern thrash rock band from Lebanon, while LeighBrooks’sThe Sound Of Scars, a captivating chronicle of metal band Life of Agony, whose lead singerMina Caputo came out as transgender in 2011.
Screening from the archives is Mohamed Camara’s 1997 queer African cinema classic, Dakan. DubbedWest Africa’s first film about homosexuality this is a chance to reassess Dakan’s significance, a film which was defunded by the Guinean government and was the target of protests during its production.
Screeningin partnership with African Odysseys, Madame Satãis Karim Aı ̈nouz’s bold, beautiful and epic tale of an extraordinary and notorious Brazilian nightlife legend, criminal, queen and folk hero in Rio de Janeiro’sbohemian underworld. The film is followed by a Q&A discussion with Aı ̈nouz and lead actor Lazaro Ramos ́addressing how LGBTQIA+ and race depictions in Brazil have evolved in the 20 years since it premiered at Cannes.
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