London LGBT+ film festival releases full line-up and it’s a good one

BBC

BFI Flare has released its most impressive line-up yet, with over 50 LGBT+ inclusive features.

The festival, at BFI Southbank from 16-26 March, is the UK’s longest running LGBT film event – and is set to showcase the best in contemporary LGBTQ+ cinema from across the globe.

Opening the festival is the world premiere of Against the Law, which charts Peter Wildeblood’s gay affair with a young serviceman, and his subsequent imprisonment for homosexual acts.

2017 marks fifty years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, making Against the Law especially timely: Wildeblood’s imprisonment led to the creation of the Wolfenden Committee, that paved the way for the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. It depicts an integral part of our history.

Signature Move will premiere at the Closing Gala. It’s described as a “cross-cultural romace about lesbian living in Chicago,” and is directed by BFI Flare alumni Jennifer Reeder.

Pakistani-Canadian actress Fawzi Mirza, Bollywood leading lady Shabana Azmi, and Empire’s Sari Sanchez are the film’s stars, in this culturally diverse LGBTQ+ comedy.

One of the most anticipated features is Torrey Pines, which has been described as “psychedelic stop-motion animation”. It details the life of a child grappling with his gender identity and a schizophrenic mother. Think Coraline meets Judith Butler.

Other notable features include The Handmaiden, the story of a woman hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, who has an illicit lesbian affair. After its premiere at Cannes last year, it’s garnered widespread critical acclaim. The trailer alone is bat-shit. This is not one to miss.

Alongside the wide selection of feature films on offer, the festival is also putting on a number of events, workshops, and archive screenings.

SEXIT: What the Fuck is Happening with UK Porn Laws? is a debate questioning recent anti-porn legislation that excludes queer businesses, performers, and portrayal of alternative sexualities from distributing material.

Interactive theatre company Clay & Diamonds marry Sally Porter’s filmography with Virginia Woolf’s classic novel in Orlando: The Queer Element, an education event that explores the evolution of gender and sex from the 18th century to now.

For the full BFI: Flare line-up, click here.

Tickets go on sale to BFI Patrons, Champions and Members from 20 Feb and general public on 27 February.

Words Liam Taft

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