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BFI Flare

March 17th, 2017 | by Jennifer Edwards

BFI Flare

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the BFI Flare LGBT Festival returns to the South Bank in a celebration of the year’s best contemporary global LGBT cinema. Running from 16 – 27 March, the festival will showcase 50 features, 100 short films, guest appearances, workshops and special events, not to mention gala screenings and World and European Premiere’s. One of the key events on the cinematic LGBT calendar, the BFI Flare Festival 2017 is divided into sections including Hearts, Minds, Bodies and the brilliantly titled Winks and Nudges, with a focus on themes such as emerging British talent, transgender representation and queer science and new technology.

Whittling the festival down to list of tips is no easy task but it’s one we’re proud to undertake, in this guide to BFI Flare Festival 2017, as we select 10 films to look out for during the festival.


    What better place to start than at the beginning. This year’s Opening Night Gala presentation portrays a key moment in British history. Starring Daniel Mays and Mark Gatiss, Against the Law adapts Peter Wiseblood’s bestseller to recount how his case – accused and charged under the archaic Homosexuality Act – resulted in the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK.

    To book, click here. 


    The deserved recipient of the top prize at this year’s Academy Awards, this disarmingly intimate look at the life of a young gay black man is told over three defining chapters in his life. Told with lyrical realism and a colour coded palette, Moonlight is something of a modest masterpiece.

    To book, click here. 


    Anchored by a standout performance from Alan Cumming, After Louie explores the trauma of loss, the AIDS epidemic of the 80s and 90s and marries it with a love story full of hope. Troubled artist Sam is surrounded by memories of friends lost to the illness but a chance encounter with a younger man offers a new lease of life and a fresh outlook.

    To book, click here. 


    This Irish comedy-drama follows the titular Mary after a brief stint in prison that she’d rarther forget. Returning to her hometown to realise everything’s changed, she’s shocked to hear her best friend, Charlene, is getting married and she’s going to be the Maid of Honour. After learning that she hasn’t got a plus one, Mary embarks on a determined quest to prove that she’s changed and nab herself a date.

    To book, click here. 


    The cream of the French acting crop converge for an intensely dramatic dysfunctional family drama. This brooding tale of old feuds and new secrets follows playwright Louis as he returns to the family home he left 12 years ago to unload a bombshell. With an abrasive brother, wayward sister and neurotic mother waiting expectantly, Louis braces himself for an explosive reunion.

    To book, click here. 

  • BEING 17

    Célina Sciamma, director of Tomboy and Girlhood, has an innate understanding of adolescence in all its varying guises so its little wonder that Being 17 – co-written by Sciamma – is another wonderfully realised portrait of French teenager-dom. Focussing on fiercely opposed schoolmates Thomas and Damien, it follows their formative years that become shaped by a time they were forced to share a house.

    To book, click here. 


    What begins in relatively normal fashion quickly transcends into a mystical journey through one man’s spiritual and metaphysical journey in this Portuguese-set curio. After a kayaking accident leaves Ornithologist Fernando for dead, he is rescued by a couple of Chines pilgrims and his adventures begin anew in a rather magical sense.

    To book, click here. 


    It isn’t easy to describe this wildly original film in the usual way. Encompassing everything from stop-motion animation, coming-of-age road trip, alien sightings and a theatrical show with live score from Queercore band, Your Heart Breaks, Torrey Pines is a psychedelic ride of a film that needs to be seen to be believed.

    To book, click here. 


    Dripping with sex and duplicity, acclaimed director Park Chan-wook’s devilishly stylish double-crossing drama is an energetic take on Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith novel. Set in the director’s Korean homeland, it follows the plot of a conman to defraud a Japanese heiress of her inherited fortune with the help of a seemingly innocent accomplice posing as a maid. As the maid and the heiress start to become drawn to each other, plans dramatically change in the most gripping of ways.

    To book, click here. 



    Finishing up at the finish line, Signature Moves is the festival’s Closing Night Gala that takes us to the multicultural streets of Chicago and into the life of Zaynab. Living with an overbearing mother and ready for the real world, the arrival of a lively Mexican girl, Alma, triggers powerful emotion and added household pressure in a coming of age rom-com that manages to be both romantic and genuinely funny.

    To book, click here.