Sunday, 1 April 2018

Flare 7: Send up a flare

So BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival is over for another year, although the British Film Institute continues Flare-themed events year-round, including a special section on BFIPlayer. This was the 32nd year for this festival, one of the largest queer-focussed cinema events on earth. And it's the 20th year that I have been accredited to cover it, so it's always great to reconnect with my Flare buddies every year, hang out with the filmmakers and get some inspiration to make movies myself. Not counting revival screenings, I saw 24 feature films and 26 shorts in this year's festival. All of the features have been covered on this blog, with full reviews en route (Shico Menegat from Hard Paint is pictured above)...


  1. 120 BPM (Robin Campillo, Fr)
  2. Hard Paint (Filipe Matzembacher & Marcio Reolon, Br)
  3. Malila: The Farewell Flower (Anucha Boonyawatana, Tha)
  4. The Wound (John Trengove, Sa)
  5. Postcards From London (Steve Mclean, UK)
  6. Sidney & Friends (Tristan Aitchison, UK)
  7. The Happy Prince (Ropert Everett, UK)
  8. Conversations With Gay Elders (David Weissman, US)
  9. My Days of Mercy (Tali Shalom-Ezer, US)
  10. Love, Simon (Greg Berlanti, US)

Special mention: Freak Show. Rift. Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco. Good Manners. Stumped. Love, Scott.


Watching films on a big screen with an audience is the best way to watch any film, really, but it's rare to get the chance to see short films like that. So I love catching as many as possible at film festivals. Here are my 10 favourites from the range I caught at this year's Flare...

  1. Vertical Lines (Kyle Reaume, Can 14m) • There's an uncanny authenticity to this little film, which centres on a bedtime conversation about the meaning of body scars as a young couple gets to know each other. While remaining light and relaxed, the deeper themes are profoundly moving - and very important.
  2. Calamity (Severine de Streyker & Maxime Feyers, Bel 22m) • A hilariously deadpan tone accompanies this sharp-edged comedy about a young man reluctantly introducing his trans girlfriend to his idiotic family.
  3. The Sermon (Dean Puckett, UK 12m) • In the style of an exploitation film, this British short hilariously skewers blind religiosity with skill and wit.
  4. SununĂș: The Revolution of Love (Olivia Crellin, UK 25m) • The remarkable story of the first trans political candidate in Ecuador, this warm doc follows a young couple as they prepare for the birth of their first child while setting out to change their country.
  5. Half a Life (Tamara Shogaolu, Egy 12m) • Narrated by a young activist, this animated doc artfully and pointedly explores both the Arab Spring riots and the current social situation in Cairo.
  6. Ursinho (Stephane Olijnyk, Br 45m) • A mini-feature, this drama follows a lonely man in a Rio favela who has an encounter with an almost fantastical stranger on Copacabana.
  7. Cas (Joris van den Berg, Ned 48m) • Another rather long short, this drama centres on a happy couple whose relationship is strained by a houseguest who stays around a bit too long.
  8. Blood Out of a Stone (Ben Allen, UK 14m) • There's an earthy authenticity to this British short about two young guys trying to connect on an offbeat date.
  9. Landline (Matt Houghton, UK 13m) • Artfully shot and edited, this quietly powerful short doc uses recordings and dramatisations from a helpline for gay farmers.
  10. Edmund the Magnificent (Ben Ockrent, UK 14m) • It may be a bit arch and ridiculous, but this heightened comedy, narrated by Ian McKellen, recounts the story of a farmer (David Bradley) trying to breed his prized gay pig.

Full reviews of features and short reviews of the shorts will be on the main website, linked to my BFI Flare page.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for this interesting review about the best films of BFI FLARE. I just wanted to inform you that URSINHO is a french film, even if it's in portuguese.