SCREEN GUIDE: BFI Flare 2018

BFI Flare – one of London’s LGBTQ+ film festivals – heads back to BFI Southbank for its 32nd edition (21 MAR to 01 APR 2018). Here’s our handy SCREEN GUIDE.

BFI Flare has launched its 2018 programme with a strong focus on issues of family, disability and diversity. The festival programming team led by Michael Blyth took to the BFI Southbank stage last night (21 FEB 2018) to introduce the “new class of essential queer films” in what is “an exciting time for queer cinema”. After the pitches and showreels, the printed pages of the full programme were released. Here’s our summary of what’s on*.


05 MAR UPDATE: Tickets went on public sale this morning. We’ve updated our guide where films have sold out! Remember, more tickets will be released by BFI Flare on 15 MAR. So don’t be sad.

09 MAR UPDATE: BFI Flare have added previously sold out titles to SECOND CHANCE SUNDAY. Tickets go on general release today at 16:00. Click quickly!


Follow the links to find what you’ll love: BIG TOP ATTRACTIONS // AIDS ON FILM // STRANDS // SHORTS // SECOND CHANCES // SINGLE-O EXHIBIT // BOX OFFICE


> If you like this guide, consider helping us produce many more with a monthly membership.


BIG TOP ATTRACTIONS

FILM FESTIVALS THIS MONTH: MY DAYS OF MERCY screens at BFI Southbank.
MY DAYS OF MERCY screens at BFI Flare 2018.

MY DAYS OF MERCY screens 21 MAR 18:15 + repeats:

Opening Night: Starring Ellen Page and Kate Mara, this sophomore feature from Tali Shalom-Ezer is a beautiful and poignant love story between two women from vastly different backgrounds and opposing political views. Or, as BFI Flare programmer Brian Robinson put it, “Can love Trump politics?”

POSTCARDS FROM LONDON screens 31 MAR 18:50 + 21:10:

Closing Night: A stylish film about a young man’s journey into an unusual form of escort work. This “delicious confection set in a neon-lit Soho” is billed as a homage to Derek Jarman. The absence of the great man’s work from the festival was our only disappointment given that BFI will be releasing a box set of restored versions of his first six features whilst Flare is underway (available for pre-order here). We hope BFI has other plans up their lenticular sleeve… [SOLD OUT as of 05 MAR]

SCREEN GUIDE: A DEAL WITH THE UNIVERSE screens at BFI Flare 2018.
A DEAL WITH THE UNIVERSE screens at BFI Flare 2018.

A DEAL WITH THE UNIVERSE screens 26 MAR 20:50 + repeats:

Centrepiece Screening: Following last year’s focus on trans lives – the surreal if not entirely sure-footed animation, TOREY PINES – this year’s centrepiece is the debut documentary feature by Jason Barker and tells his personal tale of a very different kind of pregnancy.

RISE: QTIPOC REPRESENTATION AND VISIBILITY IN FILM takes place 23 MAR 12:00:

In collaboration with The Art Machine, RISE explores the representation of queer, intersex and trans people of colour in film through a one-day series of events including workshops and panel discussions.

BIG GAY FILM QUIZ takes place 29 MAR 19:00:

Time to weaponise your film trivia with the quiz that claims to offer something for everyone whether you are “a walking queer cinema encyclopaedia or a casual spectator”. More importantly, can you survive 3 hours without Alexa? Other digital assistants available…


AIDS ON FILM

RADIANT CIRCUS SCREEN GUIDE: QUIET HEROES screens at BFI Flare 2018.
QUIET HEROES screens at BFI Flare 2018.

One of the most stirring trailers of launch night was 120 BPM (24 & 25 MAR) which played in competition at last year’s London Film Festival and features here as a special presentation: “Pulsating with life and pounding with urgency, this rousing, heartbreaking celebration of political activism is a modern queer classic.” Telling the dramatic history of ACT-UP in Paris, you really should see it.

As time, treatments and, to a still questionable extent, tolerance have changed the way we react to HIV and AIDS in the UK, Flare gives good account of the pandemic’s portrayal on film with a number of special events. Programmer Brian Robinson gives an illustrated lecture CINEMA OF AIDS (22 MAR) which is followed by a one-day event MEDIATIONS IN AN EMERGENCY: HIV/AIDS IN FILM, TV AND THE MEDIA (30 MAR). Screenings from the archives include: BUDDIES (25 MAR), SILVERLAKE LIFE: THE VIEW FROM HERE (28 MAR) and A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD (31 MAR).

From the Minds strand, we also like the look of QUIET HEROES (29 & 31 MAR), a doc about a “brave lesbian couple who, in the 1980s, were the only doctors in Utah treating AIDS patients”.

> Revisit HIV & AIDS on film with our RADIANT CIRCUS top-ten list, here.


STRANDS

We like to look down-list for films booked in smaller rooms to find the more adventurous screen content. We’ve done the same here. Other recommendations are available.

HEARTS: Films about love, romance & friendship

SCREEN GUIDE: MALILA: THE FAREWELL FLOWER screens at BFI Flare 2018.
MALILA: THE FAREWELL FLOWER screens at BFI Flare 2018.

CLOSE-KNIT screens 28 & 30 MAR:

A trans woman realises her deep desire for motherhood in this sweet family yarn told through the eyes of Tomo, “a thick-skinned, no-nonsense 11-year-old”. Contains scenes of Buddhist knitting.

MALILA: THE FAREWELL FLOWER screens 27 & 30 MAR:

“A dream-like encounter between two ex-lovers becomes a meditation on love, life and the prospect of death.” Contains scenes of Buddhist Bai Sri (a form of flower sculpture).

RIFT aka Rökkur screens 23 & 24 MAR:

Shades of DON’T LOOK NOW permeate this subtle Nordic chiller about two men haunted by an unseen presence. “Touching upon themes of depression, homophobia and abuse with nuance and subtlety, this is a story of the ghosts that haunt us – both literal and metaphorical.”

BODIES: Stories of sex, identity & transformation

SCREEN GUIDE: TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS screens at BFI Flare 2018.
TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS screens at BFI Flare 2018.

THE CARMILLA MOVIE screens 23 & 24 MAR:

“Everyone’s favourite lesbian vampire is back, in a feature length sequel to the hit web series. And this time around the stakes are much higher.” We know you’ve been watching… (catch up on everything at KindaTV).

PATERNAL RITES screens 22, 23 & 24 MAR:

A filmmaker retraces a 1974 road trip undertaken by his parents in order to confront deep-seated family secrets. Jules Rosskam’s images include home movies, collage and interviews and range from the vast American west to 16mm ink drawings as he uncovers the truth about his abusive grandfather.

STUMPED screens 28 & 30 MAR:

A film professor prevails over the loss of his limbs with the care of his boyfriend and identical twin brother, some revolutionary medicine, and comedy routines about taboos, disability and coming to terms with his new body.

TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS screens 22 & 24 MAR:

After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a transgender person decides to undertake a conscious death. “A quiet, non-linear and thought-provoking piece that encourages and rewards the honest examination of our own mortality”. Contains scenes of death.

MINDS: Reflections on art, politics & community

SCREEN GUIDE: SOUTHERN PRIDE screens at BFI Flare 2018.
SOUTHERN PRIDE screens at BFI Flare 2018.

OF LOVE & LAW screens 26 & 27 MAR:

Two gay lawyers living in Osaka pioneer the first LGBTQ+ law firm in Japan. “A saying is repeated throughout the film, that one must ‘read the air’ – conform to the tacit conservatism that forbids sexual diversity. With love, humour and serious legal chops, Fumi and Kazu do exactly the opposite.”

RADFEM/TRANS: A LOVE STORY takes place 26 MAR 18:20:

A clip show and talk from BFI Flare programmer Jay Bernard and invited guests who will examine how rifts in the feminist movement have been seen on screen and the imaginative ways such deep-rooted conflicts have been represented and resolved in the past.

SOUTHERN PRIDE screens 30 & 31 MAR:

A documentary about two towns in Mississippi organising Pride events in Trump’s America. “Malcolm Ingram’s spiritual companion piece to his acclaimed documentary SMALL TOWN GAY BAR (BFI Flare 2007), SOUTHERN PRIDE offers a fascinating insight into LGTBQ+ rights in a post-Trump landscape.”


SHORTS

SCREEN GUIDE: PLETHORA screens at BFI Flare 2018.
PLETHORA screens at BFI Flare 2018.

Following the London Film Festival blueprint of a selection of shorts for every programme strand, Flare has lots of juicy morsels on offer. We really like the look of the following.

FIGHTERS OF DEMONS, MAKERS OF CAKES screens 25 MAR 13:30:

A programme of deaf and disabled queer and trans shorts is “packed with experimental docs, dance, animation, poetry, drama and comedy. Plus zombies.” Part of Bodies.

REVELATE screens 29 & 30 MAR:

Festival programmer Jay Bernard sets down the challenge: “You must decide what side of reality you stand on in these stories that revel in the dark, the dream-like and the bizarre”. Part of Bodies.

REWIND THE FILM screens 27 MAR 20:30:

A series of experimental shorts from contemporary film and video artists that reconfigure “queer histories and queer futures”. Part of Minds.


SECOND CHANCES

SCREEN GUIDE: GOOD MANNERS screens at BFI Flare 2018.
GOOD MANNERS screens at BFI Flare 2018.

The finale for this year’s Flare is Second Chance Sunday which isn’t the lineup of those last standing at a tea dance but a repeat opportunity to see some of the year’s best LGBTQ+ films (all 01 APR). Pick from: BATTLE OF THE SEXES (13:00), CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (20:00), A FANTASTIC WOMAN (17:45), and GOD’S OWN COUNTRY (15:30).

There are also a few films that featured in last year’s London Film Festival including THE WOUND (25 & 26 MAR – SOLD OUT as of 05 MAR) and one of our absolute favourites GOOD MANNERS (30 & 31 MAR – SOLD OUT as of 05 MAR) – read our RADIANT CIRCUS writeup here.

09 MAR UPDATE: BFI Flare have added previously sold out titles to SECOND CHANCE SUNDAY. Tickets go on general release today at 16:00. Click quickly!


SINGLE-O EXHIBIT

SCREEN GUIDE: MY OWN PRIVATE HELL aka Inferninho screens at BFI Flare 2018.
MY OWN PRIVATE HELL aka Inferninho screens at BFI Flare 2018.

If we could only see just one, it would be…

MY OWN PRIVATE HELL aka Inferninho screens 24 & 25 MAR:

The dark and strange story of a sailor, a landlady, two gangsters and a rabbit… “A truly queer lo-fi adventure, MY OWN PRIVATE HELL blends the heart-breaking with the absurd.” Could this be our fave festival follow-up to last year’s THE UNTAMED? We really hope so…


BOX OFFICE

  • Check out the full BFI Flare programme here.
  • Booking opens for BFI Members 28 FEB 11:30.
  • Booking opens for the public 05 MAR 11:30.
  • Missed out? More tickets will be released 15 MAR.

Join the hunt for adventurous moving pictures.

Never miss a frame with a new monthly membership at Patreon.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for daily updates.

#shelterfromthestorm


*THE SMALL PRINT: As accurate as we could make it. Apologies for any mistakes. Updates & corrections will be made to the online version.

Featured image: STUMPED (2017).

Radiant Circus