BFI Flare LGBT 20-30 March 2014

March 13th, 2014
Author: Meredith Taylor

FLARE is the new name for the London LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER Film Festival which takes place from 20 – 30 March 2014 at the Southbank Centre; what ever your sexuality this year has some stunning titles to enjoy, whatever your sexuality may be. 

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The festival is also available across the UK on the BFI VOD platform and a monthly screening programme at the Southbank.

Fresh from Sundance, this years’ opening night film is Hong Khaou’s LILTING. Ben Whishaw is compelling as a gay man living through the tragic aftermath of his lover’s death. Cheng Pei-Pei (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Peter Bowles also star in this cross-cultural drama that explores loss, miscommunication and denial, in the same vein as Xavier Doulan’s TOM ON THE FARM.  

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The Festival closes with Sophie Hyde’s 52 TUESDAYS which won a Best Director Award at Sundance and also screened as part of the official selection at the Berlin Film Festival where it was awarded a Crystal Bear. Shot on 52 consecutive Tuesdays over the course of a year, the film follows a teenager’s struggle to come to terms with her mother’s transition from female to male and the subsequent effect of her own emerging sexuality.

The Accenture Gala is THE LAST MATCH, a powerful and compelling story of two young men set in Havana, Cuba, who grapple with life and love, in a tale of economic desperation and sexual awakening.

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Under a series of themed groupings, the programme includes 50 films from all over the World:

H  E  A  R  T  S  – films about love, romance and friendship

This section showcases a rich crop of dramatic features including upbeat American high school comedy, G.B.F. which explores the comic implications of the outing of a male student who becomes the darling of the reigning prom queens but loses sight of who his real friends are, and features a great cameo by Megan Mullally as an over-supportive pro-gay mother. C.O.G. is the first film adaptation of a work by David Sedaris, and this road movie meets student journey of self-discovery will not disappoint his many fans. Returning festival favourite Marco Berger brings HAWAII a beautiful and subtle film of two childhood friends who unexpectedly become re-acquainted as adults. Dappled sun-light and dreamy nostalgia feature strongly in LAST SUMMER  a film about two teenage friends facing up to losing each other as one is about to head off to college. Memories of the 1980s and a great period soundtrack feature strongly in TEST, an account of the trials of a young male dancer learning big lessons about love and life in San Francisco in 1985 before mobile phones.


DUAL is a charming story of an encounter between a lost tourist and a female bus driver late one night on the way from the airport. REACHING FOR THE MOON is a powerful account of a famous novelist and her architect lover in Rio de Janeiro whose lives encompass dramatic highs and lows, both professionally and personally.

Twenty years on from his death we feature a screening of a never-before-seen experimental work by Derek Jarman, WILL YOU DANCE WITH ME? filmed as a test for Ron Peck’s EMPIRE STATE. Derek roams around Benjy’s nightclub in 1984 among an invited group of club patrons which includes actor Philip Williamson and a cast of regulars.

Recent events in India will not prevent us celebrating some of the queerest things in Indian culture with rare big screen outings for PAKEEZAH(1972)  and MUGHAL-E-AZAM  (1960) while Dr Rajinder Dudrah gives a talk on Bollywood -LGBT Style: Queer Readings of Popular Hindi Cinema and Club Kali hosts a big themed party too.

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B  O  D  I  E  S   – stories of sex, identity and transformation

Exec produced by Rose Troche and directed by Stacie Passion, CONCUSSION is a bold drama about a well-heeled lesbian wife and parent who discovers a new way to deal with suburban ennui. WHO’S AFRAID OF VAGINA WOLF? is a genuinely hilarious, new comedy from Anna Margarita Albelo starring Guinevere Turner and the director herself plays a 40 year old bohemian lesbian who is forced to make a film in order to follow through on a dating stratagem.

Bruce LaBruce remains a deliciously subversive filmmaker, his latest GERONTOPHILIA world premiered at Venice and charmed audiences with an account of a young man working at a care home with a passion for much older men, cocking a snook at the youth cult of contemporary life.  THE PASSION OF MICHAELANGELO is a fascinating  re-imagining of a true story of an alleged teenage prophet whose visions of the Virgin galvanised the Chilean masses, but the inside story reveals sex, politics and deceit on a grand scale. I ALWAYS SAID YES: THE MANY LIVES OF WAKEFIELD POOLE is a documentary about a pioneering pornographer (Boys in the Sand) whose fascinating life took in performing with the Ballets Russe, Broadway, pop art, and much more.

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AGE OF CONSENT was inspired by a screening at last year’s festival.  This access-all-areas documentary by Charles Lum and Todd Verow  features the inside story of The Hoist, London’s only permanent fixture leather bar, what goes on there, its patrons and how its story reflects on the wider gay culture. Some scenes of a sexual nature.

Programmer Michael Blyth dissects the fascinating homo-erotics of gay horror films with a talk Queer Eye for the Dead Guy: A brief history of LGBT horror plus four of the best on the big screen: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART II: FREDDY’S REVENGE, THE LOST BOYS, FRIGHT NIGHT and BUTCHER, BAKER, NIGHTMARE MAKER.

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M  I  N  D  S   – reflections on art, politics and community

Highlights include a very strong range of documentaries: THE ABOMINABLE CRIME covers the lives of a lesbian survivor of a murder attempt and a male gay activist under threat in Jamaica, while BORN THIS WAY (presented in association with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival) is an exploration of brave initiatives in campaigning for gay rights in the Cameroon. The Abominable Laws is a discussion event which will focus on the appalling legal situation for many LGBT people around the globe. BIG JOY: THE ADVENTURES OF JAMES BROUGHTON is an insightful portrait of a poet and experimental film-maker whose art and life culminated in 25 years of love with a younger partner.  BRIDEGROOM is a poignant celebration of the life that two young gay men had before a sudden death, when the survivor was brutually snubbed by his boyfriend’s family. CONTINENTAL is a great documentary about a former early 1970s, New York landmark, gay bath-house which launched the careers of Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, Frankie Knuckles and more. VALENTINE ROAD is a heart-breaking study of the murder of young gay high school student.  MY PRAIRE HOME is a celebration of the life and music of the much-loved genderqueer Rae Spoon, while KATE BORNSTEIN IS A QUEER AND PLEASANT DANGER is an inspiring look at another gender outlaw.


Film-maker Allyson Mitchell will have a lesbian-feminist art installation at BFI Southbank for the duration of the festival: Killjoy’s Kastle is a haunted house style encounter with the horrors of political division and community politics. Allyson will also give a talk about her work as a film-maker and artist.

Archivist and DJ Jeffrey Hinton opens up his personal archive to explore the history of clubland drag in Life’s a Drag (a celebration) followed by a rare screening of THE ALTERNATIVE MISS WORLD (1980) (Andrew Logan hopes to attend). Stephen Beresford talks PRIDE in an on-stage interview with the writer of one of the most eagerly awaited films of 2014, a major new film called PRIDE, a drama which uncovers the remarkable true story of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners movement in 1984.



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