02nd Apr2017

The Best of BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival 2017 (Film)

by timbaros

The best films of BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival 2017 was always going to be hard to choose. There were so many wonderfully well-done, and in some cases, amazing films that were shown at the film festival – one of the biggest, and best, in the world. There were over 50 features and more than 100 shorts shown, as well as a wide range of special events, guest appearances, discussions, workshops, club nights and more. And while it was virtually impossible to watch all of the features and shorts, I did manage to catch most of them. So herewith is my non-exhaustive list of the best of Flare:

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1:54 is an explosive film that stars the excellent Antoine-Olivier Pilon (Mommy) which goes from a simple gay love story to an unexpected and shocking direction. It touches on all the relevant themes (bullying, young love, etc.) and first time director Yan England excellently pulls it all together. A must see!

Pushing Dead, directed and written by Tom E Brown, is a lighthearted comedy about a HIV+ man (a very good James Roday) and his trials and tribulations in getting his medication, finding love, and dealing with his boss and female roommate in San Francisco. It’s bittersweet, funny and lighthearted and will tug at your heart.

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Dear Dad is an excellent Indian film about a middle-aged father who comes out to his son while driving him to boarding school. It’s heartwarming and funny, with great performances all around.

Eight long-term HIV+ survivors discuss their fears, challenges and milestones in the relevant and timely documentary Last Men Standing. With the HIV+ population getting older, these men celebrate life as they remember the past.

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The Trans List is an important documentary where several prominent trans and nonbinary people get to tell their story. Well known celebrities Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner and Buck Angel are featured, but it’s the less well-known who make more of an impact; lawyer and activist Kylar Broadus, teenage student Nicole Maines who won a landmark lawsuit in America after she faced discrimination for wanting to use the girl’s bathroom, and Bamby Salcedo, founder of the Los Angeles-based TransLain Coalition and who faced lots of issues growing up. There are a total of 11 interviews in this documentary, but I could’ve watched a dozen more. It’s an important and relevant documentary.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, another important documentary, is about four Lesbians who were tried and convicted of sexually abusing children in the 1990’s. Fast forward and the women are finally exonerated for their alleged crime, and this documentary shows – through interviews and news footage – the women’s journey of their nightmare. Gripping, and bittersweet.

Chilean film Jesús starts out as a buddy movie where the two young leads hang out with their friends and then have sex with each other, but their lives are changed, and the film takes a surprising turn, when they are involved in a crime. This event will tear their lives apart and the ending packs a wallop!

Lauren (Velinda Godfrey) has to deal with the death of her girlfriend in the film Heartland. She also gets kicked out of the house they shared, so she has to move in with her bigoted mother, while her brother and his long-term girlfriend are visiting in order to set up a local wine business. But Lauren and the girlfriend develop more than a friendship in an event that tears the whole family apart, and brings up bad memories.

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Blow Job 2017 is a reimagining of the Andy Warhol classic, directed by Charles Lum and Todd Verow, that, for it’s four full minutes, focuses on David J. White, getting, as you guessed, a blow job. Why remake the 1963 classic? Because it was time to do so, and Lum and Verow do it in an excellent, grainy style.

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A film with commercial potential is Handsome Devil. Out gay student Ned (a wonderful Fionn O’Shea) is faced with another year in boarding school. His new roommate, lucky for him, is the star rugby player. But most memorable is Andrew Scott who plays a gay and sympathetic teacher. Scott is brilliant (and extremely handsome) as always.

A film that will astound you is the documentary Out of Iraq. It’s amazing that this film was even made as it’s the true story of two Iraqi soldiers who fall in love, but of course, living in a country where gay men are killed is not the ideal place for a gay relationship. So one of them is lucky enough to move to the U.S. and it’s a four year wait for them to be back together. Their long-awaited reunion, and eventual wedding, will leave you in tears.

This was just a few of the highlights of the BFI Flare film festival.
The entire program can still be found in the link below and hopefully some of these films will find their way to the cinema, or to the BFI website, or anywhere online. Let’s support and celebrate gay cinema.

http://www.bfi.org.uk/flare

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18th Mar2017

BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival (Film)

by timbaros

image007Spring is in the air (almost) and with this comes gay films – and the BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival.

Taking place from March 16th – 27th at the NFT on the South Bank in London, this year Flare, for it’s 31st year, will deliver over 50 features, more than 100 shorts, and a wide range of special events including workshops, club nights and much much more in what is one of the world’s largest LGBT Film Festivals. Here’s a taste of what is showing:

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Against the Law – the world premiere (and opening night gala) of this British film which commemorates 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales. The film deals with a Daily Express journalist, Peter Wildeblood, who has an affair with a serviceman that becomes disastrous for both of them in light of the law. Starring Mark Gattis (Boys in the Band) and Daniel Mays.

 

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Signature Movie – a widowed Pakistani woman living in Chicago falls in love with a Mexican woman but it’s not acceptable behavior in her culture. Even more so in that her mother constantly nags her about about finding another man to marry.

Torrey Pines – a psychedelic stop-motion animation film about a child grappling with gender identity and a schizophrenic mother. The film will be accompanied by a live score from director Clyde Petersen’s Queercore band.

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After Louie – Alan Cumming is a troubled New York-based artist, a survivor of the AIDS epidemic, who meets a young man who turns his life around.

Different for Girls – A woman has to explain to her female partner how she became pregnant while they were on a break. Expect lots of tension and drama!

Flare continues to categorise the films in different sections: Hearts (love, romance and friendship), Bodies (sex, identity and transformation) and Minds (reflections on art, politics and community). Here’s a small sample of some of these films:
Handsome Devil, starring Andrew Scott, is about the unlikely friendship between a lonely gay teen and his hunky rugby-playing roommate; Heartland follows a young woman who has to move back home to Oklahoma following the death of her girlfriend; Being 17 is the touching story of two gay teenage boys in their last year in high school; Body Electric follows a young man and his casual encounters in Brazil; The Trans List, a documentary of where prominent transpeople, including Caitlin Jenner and Laverne Cox, tell their stories; Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things, a documentary about LGBT life in Canada’s remote Artic Intuit polulation; as well as Last Man Standing, the life of eight long-term AIDS survivors.

There’s also a chance to catch two recent gay-themed films in case you missed them. Academy Award winner Moonlight, which is the first gay-themed film to win Best Picture, and French Canadian wunderkind director Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World will both be shown at the festival.

We highly recommend a visit to the festival at least on one of the days, but if you have the stamina, and the money, there is something for everyone every single day of the festival. To learn more about what’s going on, and to buy tickets, please visit:

www.bfi.org.uk/flare

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06th Oct2016

BFI London Film Festival has started (Film)

by timbaros

bfi-london-film-festival-2016This year’s BFI London Film Festival looks to be one of the best in recent memory. The schedule is loaded with lots of must-see films by A-list filmmakers and A-list stars.

Here’s just a small selection of what’s on offer:

20151102-_auk0605_h_color-1mgThe Opening Night Gala on Wednesday October 5th is ‘A United Kingdom.’ David Oyelowo plays Sir Seretse Kharma, an African president who marries a white English woman – it’s a postwar relationship that shocked two continents. Rosamund Pike plays the English woman; the film is directed by Amma Asante (‘Belle’).

‘King Cobra’ is definitely one of the most scandalous films shown at the festival. A young man travels to Los Angeles at the urging of a sleazy gay porn producer (Christian Slater) to be his next star. A parallel story has James Franco as another gay porn producer who is in a relationship with his young male star. There’s lots of skin in this film which is based on the real life story of former gay porn star Brent Corrigan.

A film getting lots of excellent buzz is ‘Moonlight.’ It takes place in Miami in the 1980’s and focuses on one man’s journey through three stages of his life. He’s black and gay, and we witness key moments that made him the man he is. Compelling, with excellent performances all around. Naomie Harris plays his crack-addicted mother.

‘The 13th’ is a documentary that uses archival footage and contemporary interviews to discuss what the American constitution’s 13th amendment means to people of color in this day and age of Black Lives Matter.

la_la_land_dancingExpect ‘La La Land’ to garner lots of acclaim during next year’s awards season. It’s Director Damien Chazelle’s (‘Whiplash’) bitter-sweet love letter to Los Angeles and the golden era of Hollywood musicals, bringing together an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and a struggling musician (Ryan Gosling).

‘Manchester by the Sea’ has Casey Affleck giving an indelible performance as Lee, a man whose sparse existence is suddenly ruptured when the death of his brother Joe forces him to return to the hometown he abandoned years ago. Also stars Michelle Williams.

Lupita Nyong'o and Madina Nalwanga star in the triumphant true story QUEEN OF KATWE, directed by Mira Nair.

Lupita Nyong’o and Madina Nalwanga star in the triumphant true story QUEEN OF KATWE, directed by Mira Nair.

‘The Queen of Katwe’ is based on the true story of young Ugandan chess champion Phiona Mutesi. Despite being unable to read or write, she has a natural aptitude for strategic thinking. Starring Lupita Nyong’o and introducing Madina Nalwanga as Mutesi.

Science fiction film ‘Arrival’ has Amy Adams, alongside scientist Jeremy Renner, as a linguistics professor who is brought into the government to decipher the language when a group of extra-terrestrials make contact. Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario).

‘London Town’ is set in 1979 when a bright-eyed teenager attempts to juggle too many responsibilities and falls for a confident punk and together they experience the music scene that’s a whole new world to them.

Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) plays a man who was orphaned in India and brought up by adoptive parents in Australia in ‘Lion.’ He soon discovers the truth about his origins. It’s a real-life story on the life of Saroo Brierly; Nicole Kidman plays his adoptive mother and Rooney Mara plays his girlfriend.

What would happen if a famous and well-known footballer was gay? Well, in ‘The Pass,’ two aspiring Premier League footballers (Russell Tovey and Arinzé Kene) share a passionate night while sharing a hotel room right before a big game, a night which profoundly impacts Tovey’s characters life. Hard-hitting stuff with great performances.

Wonderkind director Xavier Dolan (Lawrence Anyways) presents his latest film ‘It’s Only the End of the World.’ A terminally ill writer returns home to break the news of his debilitating condition to his estranged family. It’s lots of sadness and sorrow – typical of a Dolan movie. With Marion Cottilard.

50805_AA_4609_v2F Academy Award nominee Amy Adams stars as Susan Morrow in writer/director Tom Ford’s romantic thriller NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, a Universal Pictures International release. Credit: Merrick Morton/Universal Pictures International

Tom Ford presents his second film (the first was the well-received ‘A Single Man’) with ‘Nocturnal Animals.’ One of the festivals must-see films, the film focuses on Susan (Amy Adams), a glamorous and accomplished Los Angeles gallery director whose current marriage appears to be unravelling, and who fuels her insomnia by reading the manuscript of a disturbing novel – written and sent to her by her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal). Expect lots of lush scenery and fabulous costumes. With Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

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Oliver Stone directs and Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in ‘Snowden,’ a supercharged political thriller about Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked classified information from the United States National Security Agency in 2013. This film is a dramatic recreation of ‘Citizen Four’ – the documentary about reporter Laura Poitras (played by Melissa Leo) and journalist Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Pinto) and their many meetings with Snowden.

The Closing Night gala, on Sunday October 16th, is Ben Wheatley’s ‘Free Fire’ (he directed last year’s poorly received ‘High Rise’). It’s the tale of gangsters and guns set in Boston in the 1970’s. A top level cast includes Cillian Murphy and recent Best Actress Oscar winner Brie Larson.

The 60th BFI London Film Festival will screen a total of 193 fiction and 52 documentary features, including 18 World Premieres, 8 International Premieres, and 39 European Premieres. There will also be screenings of 144 short films, including documentary, live action and animated works.

Taking place over 12 days, the Festival’s screenings are at venues across the capital, from the West End cinemas – Vue West End and the iconic Odeon Leicester Square; central London venues – BFI Southbank, BFI IMAX, Picturehouse Central, the ICA, Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, Haymarket, Prince Charles Cinema and Ciné Lumière; and local cinemas – the Ritzy in Brixton, Hackney Picturehouse and Curzon Chelsea. Festival visitors will be able to enjoy a brand new cinema experience with Competition and Strand Galas presented at the new Embankment Garden Cinema, in the beautiful Victoria Embankment Gardens.
Stars so far confirmed to walk on the red carpet include: Oyelowo, Pike, Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson (A Monster Calls), Casey Affleck, Adams, Tovey, Nyong’o, Renner, Kidman, Patel, Ford and Taylor-Johnson, and Cotillard.
Festival Information & Ticket Booking:

Telephone Bookings: 020 7928 3232 between 10:00 – 20:30
Online: www.bfi.org.uk/lff

In person: BFI Southbank Office: 11:00 – 20:30

THE 60TH BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL IS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH AMERICAN EXPRESS®

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16th Mar2016

BFI FLARE: LONDON LGBT FILM FESTIVAL 2016 (Film)

by timbaros

pass-02Flare turns 30 this year. And what is Flare you might ask? It is London’s LGBT Film Festival. It starts on Wednesday March 16 and continues up until Sunday March 27. That’s ten jam-packed days of films, seminars, parties, and just plain lots of fun!

Flare is one of the world’s longest running and largest LGBT Film Festival. There will be over 50 features and more than 100 shorts (by filmmakers from all over the world such as Israel to Spain to Australia), and a wide range of special events, guest appearances, discussions, workshops and club nights. It’s divided into three themed sections: Hears, Minds and Bodies.

The opening night gala is the world premiere of ‘The Pass.’ A debut by director Ben A Williams, ‘The Pass’ stars Russell Tovey as a closeted football player who’s secretly in love with a fellow player. It’s sure to continue the conversation going about if there are any gay football players in the sport nowadays.

The closing night gala is ‘Summertime,’ an acclaimed French romantic drama between two feminists in Paris in 1971.

Other movie highlights include:
‘Bare’ – A small town girl meets a rough and charming female pimp who challenges her to take charge of her own destiny. It stars Dianna Agron (Glee).
‘Coming Out’ – A young man’s video diary of his process of coming out to his friends and family.
‘Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures’ – documents the legendary photographers graphic work.
‘Naz & Maalik’ – a heartwarming story of about the love and romance between two gay teen muslim teens in Brooklyn.
‘Closet Monster’ – A coming-of-age drama about a young boy struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. It features the voice of Isabella Rossellini as a talking hamster!
‘Carmen Tropical’ – a trans woman is drawn back to her past after the murder of her friend in this Mexican thriller.
‘Inside the Chinese Closet’ – a documentary that explores how being gay in China’s homophobic society.
‘From Afar’ – A story between a middle-aged man and a 17-year old rent boy.
‘The Chambermaid Lynn’ – A former psychiatric patients becomes obsessed with guests at a hotel where she works.
‘Holding the Man’ – A 15-year old students falls in love with an older rugby player and face challenges that might tear them apart. Major stars Guy Pearce, Anthonly LaPaglia, and Geoffrey Rush feature in the movie.
‘Rebel Dykes’ – A 2016 documentary the pieces together the history of lesbian London in the 1980’s.
‘Nasty Baby’ – A young woman enlists her gay best friend to have a baby with. Starring Kristen Wiig.
There are also 12 programs of short films including ‘What Others Think’ which explores how others perceive the LGBT community.

Film festival-goes will also have a chance to watch previously released LGBT films including Xavier Dolan’s first film ‘I Killed My Mother,’ ‘Grandma’ with Lily Tomlin, the recent award-winning ‘Carol,’ and the highly-acclaimed film about two Los Angeles transgender prostitutes in ‘Tangerine.’

The festival will also shine a spotlight on transgender issues with ‘Transform,’ a series of events on trans acting on screen. Attending will be Silas Howard, a trans director on the award-winning hit show ‘Transparent.’ There will also be a live event called ‘XO LGBTQ Pitch’ where LGBT creative media professionals live pitch ideas for new interactive and games projects with LGBTQ content to commissioners. In addition, industry delegates will have access to a range of special talks and events. The BFI Flare LGBT Filmmakers’ Mentorship Programme, delivered by BAFTA with funding from Creative Skillset helps talented LGBT identified filmmakers build professional skills and networks. LGBT film gets an International spotlight with the return of fiveFilm4freedom. This ground-breaking project developed in association with the British Council sees five LGBT short films from BFI Flare available online for free throughout the Festival. And on the festival’s last day, Easter Sunday, all film are just £8.

To buy tickets, and learn more about the festival, please click here:
http://www.bfi.org.uk/flare

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09th Nov2015

Pasolini (DVD)

by timbaros

PastedGraphic-1-2PastedGraphic-1-24623673045Director Abel Ferrera brings us the few days in the life of gay Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini in his new film simply titled ‘Pasolini.’

Ferrera, who last year gave us the gripping, scandalous, controversial and excellent film ‘Welcome to New York’ (which was inspired by the case of Dominique Strauss-Khan (DSK), the former chairman of the IMF who was accused of raping a hotel maid), presents us a film where Ferrara imagines and then reconstructs the last days in the life of Pasolini.

Pasolini was an extremely controversial film director. His films combined themes of religion and sex, his own personal views on topics such as abortion, displaying in your face bacchanals that left little to the imagination. His last film – titled Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom – depicted children subjected to violence, sexual depravity, and horrific murder – making Pasolini an extremely hated, or genius, figure. In ‘Pasolini,’ Willem Dafoe doesn’t so much imitate or play Pasolini in the film, but he inhabits the actions and thoughts of him. And Ferrara, in putting this film together, spoke to Pasolini’s relatives and friends to gather the memories and thoughts of a man who would wind up being killed by a rent boy at the age of 53 in Italy.

‘Pasolini’ is not so much an actual biography of the last days of Pasolini’s life, it’s more of a combination of the actual events that took place coupled with scenes from an unmade Pasolini film, a film that he was actually working on when he died. So we have Ferrara inhabiting the shoes of Pasolini and bringing to life scenes from the film that Pasolini never made – Porno-Teo-Kolossai – coupled with the events from the last days of his life which included meetings to discuss his new film, in his home with his mom and assistant and various friends, and to finally, his pickup of a male rent boy that would result in his death. It’s a very realistic film. Ferrara uses the actual locations of the real life events and also uses Pasolini’s personal objects and clothes in the film. This, coupled with Dafoe’s performance, gives us a documentary style production that is rich in it’s storytelling. Dafoe gives a fantastic performance inhabiting Pasolini’s world, right down to the language (some of this film is in Italian, and not every part of it has subtitles), to the glasses that he wears, to the clothing, to the way he carries himself. Like Gerard Depardieu who perfectly inhabited the role of DSK, Dafoe convincingly inhabits the role here. Even down to the final scene in the film, where Pasolini has sex with the rent boy and ends up being badly beaten, and run over by his own car. It’s a brutal death for a man who didn’t deserve to die that way. His murder on a beach on the outskirts of Rome on November 2, 1972 is still an open case despite the conviction of the rentboy that he picked up that night. It would be bit more fascinating if a filmmaker can make a film about Pasolini’s life – that would be a much more well-deserved tribute.



Pasolini (DVD) (DVD)

Director: Abel Ferrara
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ninetto Davoli
Rating: Suitable for 18 years and over

Willem Dafoe stars as visionary Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini in this drama examining the last day of his life. Having just completed work on his latest film 'Salò, Or the 120 Days of Sodom' (1975), the 53-year-old director lives in Rome while preparing for his next project. But the intellectual film-maker faces opposition from many portions of Italian society including his own family who try to dissuade him from making his next picture due to its overly controversial nature. After he gives what would prove to be his last interview, Pasolini picks up a young street hustler (Damiano Tamilia) and takes him out to dinner shortly before his tragic but mysterious death.
New From: £7.49 GBP In Stock
Used from: £4.01 GBP In Stock

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13th Sep2015

Pasolini (Film)

by timbaros

Pasolini pic 1Director Abel Ferrera brings us the few days in the life of gay Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini in his new film simply titled ‘Pasolini.’

Ferrera, who last year gave us the gripping, scandalous, controversial and excellent film ‘Welcome to New York’ (which was inspired by the case of Dominique Strauss-Khan (DSK), the former chairman of the IMF who was accused of raping a hotel maid), presents us a film where Ferrara imagines and then reconstructs the last days in the life of Pasolini.
Pasolini was an extremely controversial film director. His films combined themes of religion and sex, his own personal views on topics such as abortion, displaying in your face bacchanals that left little to the imagination. His last film – titled Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom – depicted children subjected to violence, sexual depravity, and horrific murder – making Pasolini an extremely hated, or genius, figure. In ‘Pasolini,’ Willem Dafoe doesn’t so much imitate or play Pasolini in the film, but he inhabits the actions and thoughts of him. And Ferrara, in putting this film together, spoke to Pasolini’s relatives and friends to gather the memories and thoughts of a man who would wind up being killed by a rent boy at the age of 53 in Italy.

‘Pasolini’ is not so much an actual biography of the last days of Pasolini’s life, it’s more of a combination of the actual events that took place coupled with scenes from an unmade Pasolini film, a film that he was actually working on when he died. So we have Ferrara inhabiting the shoes of Pasolini and bringing to life scenes from the film that Pasolini never made – Porno-Teo-Kolossai – coupled with the events from the last days of his life which included meetings to discuss his new film, in his home with his mom and assistant and various friends, and to finally, his pickup of a male rent boy that would result in his death. It’s a very realistic film. Ferrara uses the actual locations of the real life events and also uses Pasolini’s personal objects and clothes in the film. This, coupled with Dafoe’s performance, gives us a documentary style production that is rich in it’s storytelling. Dafoe gives a fantastic performance inhabiting Pasolini’s world, right down to the language (some of this film is in Italian, and not every part of it has subtitles), to the glasses that he wears, to the clothing, to the way he carries himself. Like Gerard Depardieu who perfectly inhabited the role of DSK, Dafoe convincingly inhabits the role here. Even down to the final scene in the film, where Pasolini has sex with the rent boy and ends up being badly beaten, and run over by his own car. It’s a brutal death for a man who didn’t deserve to die that way. His murder on a beach on the outskirts of Rome on November 2, 1972 is still an open case despite the conviction of the rentboy that he picked up that night. It would be bit more fascinating if a filmmaker can make a film about Pasolini’s life – that would be a much more well-deserved tribute.

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31st Mar2015

BFI Flare LGBT Film Festival wrap up (Film)

by timbaros

The BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival has unfortunately come to a close after a highly successful nine days of films and events. It was perhaps the best festival in a long time. Here are some of the highlights:

– Dior and I: An exquisite (and nail biting) documentary of Raf Simon’s first eight weeks as artistic director of Christian Dior, in which time he has to put together a collection. Director Frederic Tcheng uniquely blends voiceovers of an actor speaking excepts from Dior’s memoir intertwined with the pressure Simons and his staff are under. Dior and I is one of the better fashion documentaries ever made. It is now in wide release.

– Portrait of a Serial Monogamist: Canadian Directors Christina Zeidler and John Mitchell’s tale of 40-something year old Lesbian Elsie (a perfectly cast Diane Flacks) who breaks up with her girlfriend but is not so sure that she’s done the right thing, especially after meeting another woman right away who appears to be ‘the perfect one.’ Portrait is funny and clever and will leave you laughing out loud of it’s portrayal of Lesbian relationships amongst friends.

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– Drunktown’s Finest: 34-year old Native American Director Sydney Freeland’s well done portrait of three Navajo Indian characters all coming of age and exploring not only their identities but also their relationships with their families and their culture. An amazing job by Freeland, who also wrote the script.

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– 54: The Director’s Cut: A highlight of the festival – this is the film that gay director Mark Christopher shot and intended to release in 1998 but was not able to due to pressure from the studio to ‘degay’ it. Literal cutting room floor and lost footage has been incorporated into the original version of this story of a young man (Ryan Phillippe) being accepted into the historic NYC club’s inner circle, and includes the gay scenes originally taken out. This film still takes us back to a time when it was all about the music and the dancing.

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– Tiger Orange: A sweet tale of two gay brothers, one – Chet (Mark Strano) who looks after the family hardware store in a small town in California while younger brother rebel Todd (porn star Johnny Hazard – real name Frank Valenti) comes back home because nothing’s happening for him in Los Angeles. Chet and Todd are opposites in every way – Chet is very subdued and simple and plain looking, while Todd is hot and sexy with a body to die for and a naughty personality to match. Valenti is the true star of this film – not only does he light up the screen when he’s one, but he can act as well.

– Match: Sir Patrick Stewart is an older dance teacher (Toby Powell) whose life is shaken up when a straight couple show up one day on his doorstep to supposedly interview him about his life as a dance teacher. But what they really want from his is to find out if he’s the father of the husband. Stewart has never been better in a film that’s stretched a bit too long and with a cast that can’t quite match Stewart in the acting department.

– The Last One: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt: A film, half about the AIDS quilt and the other half about statistics and other AID’s organizations, it would’ve worked better if it stuck to it’s main subject – the quilt. We’ve seen so many documentaries about AIDS and statistics, as well as the quilt, and this documentary gives us nothing new.

– The Golden Age of the American Male: This film is just a series of images and videos from the archives of the Athletic Model’s Guild, which was created by Bob Mizer. The Golden Age is pretty much 65 minutes of soft porn, if that’s your thing.

– Frangipani: The first LGBT Sri Lankan film, it tells the tale of two men (very good Dasun Pathirana and Jehan Sri Kanth) who fall in love with each other in spite of one of them getting married to a woman. Beautifully shot and easy to identify with – Director, Writer and Producer Visakesa Chandrasekaram) has made a lush film that is highly recommended.

– Everlasting Love: A strange, eerie Spanish film that can be best described as Stranger on a Lake (without the Lake) meets Twilight. Throw in some flesh eating and many boring moments and what you have is a film that should be missed.

– Fulboy: A documentary about the unseen world of football, Director Martin Farina was given full access to a professional Argentinean football team. He speaks to them in their hotel rooms and in their locker room, when, lucky for us, they are not shy about displaying their athletic bodies, from head to toe, for the camera. Not much a narrative on this one, but it’s worth watching as you feel like a fly on the wall in a very straight male environment.

There was an excellent selection of shorts, and a few stand out:
– Hole: Gay disabled actor Ken Harrower plays a man who frequents video booths but gets frustrated when he’s unable to receive sexual pleasure, so he enlists the help of his male carer to get it.
– Limanakia: The strangest yet sexiest short film I have ever seen. Gay men frolic on the rocks of a beach somewhere in Greece, all naked and all having sex, shot in motion-moving imagery with the sun providing a hint of gold on the bodies and on the rocks.
– been too long at the FAIR: Who would’ve guessed that there is a gay cinema in Queen, New York? This short documentary exposes the FAIR Theater in Jackson Heights as one of the oldest continuing running gay establishments in New York City.

All in all, it was a great festival and we’re looking forward to next year. Well done FLARE gang!

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18th Mar2015

BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival – Film

by timbaros

I_AM_MICHAEL_still_James_Franco_on_stairs-2The BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival kicks off on Thursday at BFI Southbank and will show 50 features, more than one hundred shorts and a wide range of special events, guest appearances, discussions, workshops, and dance parties. It will be the place where everyone who is anyone wants to be at and wants to be seen there. Here are some of the highlights:

I Am Michael will open the festival on Thursday night. James Franco plays a man who was a gay journalist who then turns into an anti-gay pastor. Zachary Quinto also stars in this film directed by Justin Kelly.

The closing night film is Out To Win, telling the life experiences of LGBT sports men and women who discuss their lives and the sports they compete in. Featuring Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, John Amaechi and Jason Collins.

The festival’s films are grouped into themed sections:
Hearts:
Match – Patrick Stewart plays a dancer turned teacher who discovers a lot about himself when he takes part in an interview about his career.
54: The Directors Cut – This is the gay version of the original 1998 film about the infamous 1970’s New York City club and stars a young Ryan Phillippe.
The Falling – It director Carol Morley’s tale of school girls and their obsessions.
Frangipani – This is the world’s first Sri Lankan LGBT film. It’s about two men who fall in love but have to make a very hard decision about their relationship.
Bodies:
Dressed As A Girl – A film about drag queens in the UK and starring lots of London’s downtown glitteratti: Jonny Woo, Scottee, John Sizzle and more.
Drunktown’s Finest – This is about the lives of three young Native Americans, where coming out of the closet is not the easiest thing in the community.
Something Must Break – A love story between a young straight man and a shy trans teen.
Minds:
Tab Hunter Confidential – A documentary about the heartthrob movie star who never actually told the world that he is gay. Hunter will be presenting this film in person at the festival.
The Last One: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt – A documentary about the quilt and it’s last public unveiling.
Dior and I – One of the must see films at the festival, it’s a warts and all documentary about Raf Simons arrival at the house of Dior and him putting together his first collection. Nail biting stuff.

Special Events:
The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be shown to celebrate it 40th anniversary, with an afterparty.
Another anniversary to be celebrated is Xena Princess Warrior where there will be suitably themed Warrior Women afterparty. Pride, the 2014 hit film that recently won a BAFTA, will be screened at the festival and will be introduced by some of the people on whom the film’s characters were based on.

Buy tickets quick for the festival as they are selling out fast. Go to:
http://www.bfi.org.uk/flareBFI

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