March 18 2015
We pick out some films which might tickle your fancy, including the first Sri Lankan film exploring sexuality in a radical way (for South Asia)…
By Suman Bhuchar
IT’S THAT time of year when you get a chance to sample cinema from around the world with a different slant on life and love.
BFI Flare – also known as the London LGBT Film Festival – rocks into the capital from tonight.
Now in its 29th year, this festival promises to present the “best in queer cinema from around the world”.
Putting aside the politics of labels and classifications, it’s a chance to see some great films that ask questions of us all, like any cracking film.
One of the features to look out for is the Sri Lankan film, “Frangipani”. It shows at the festival on Saturday (March 21) and then again on Sunday and Monday. All films are screened at the BFI Southbank in London.
About a rather unconventional love triangle, involving two men and a woman, it’s described by one of the festival programmers, Jay Bernard as something to salute. “If at times cautious about its own ambition, ‘Frangipani’ remains a light-footed and enjoyable first feature and the first gay film from Sri Lanka,” she writes. It’s a first feature by Visakesa Chandrasekaram, who also produced and wrote the film.
The 11-day festival opens tonight with the film, “I am Michael”, which stars Hollywood star James Franco and neatly subverts the more conventional narrative of a man coming out proudly, to one where a leading gay rights campaigner and activist becomes more conservative and denounces homosexuality as he becomes a Christian pastor. It plays out twice on Thursday and once the next day at the BFI Southbank.
The festival is drawn up into five distinct strands: ‘Galas, Hearts, Bodies, Minds, and Events’.
In the ‘gala’ section the choice includes “Out to Win“, a documentary by Malcolm Ingram about the history of homosexuality in sport featuring many athletes’ talking about their sexuality and the fear of how coming out could mark the end of their careers (Sunday, March 29)
‘Bodies’, deals with films about sex, identity and transformation in which there is “Fulboy” directed and screenplay by Martin Farina, this is an portrait of the unseen world of professional football in Argentina. It shows on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday.
In ‘Minds’ – are reflections on art, politics and community, and there is another chance to see the London Film Festival 2014 screening film, “Dear White People” a satirical comedy drama by Justin Simien on race and identity. It screens on Tuesday, Wednesday and next Saturday.
In the ‘Hearts’ section, there’s also another chance to catch “Appropriate Behaviour” which chronicles the life and love pressures of being a second generation female immigrant in New York with the spectre of the smash Lena Dunham comedy, “Girls” almost consciously dogging your every step. It’s described as a “Persian American bisexual break up comedy”. And first screened in the UK at the London Film Festival in October last year and can be seen in some cinemas in the UK. It shows tomorrow and Saturday.
As part of the events programme there is also a Club Kali night next Friday (March 27). The club is celebrating its 20th birthday this year as a ‘safe space’ for South Asian LGBT community.