Sunday 27 March 2022

BFI Flare: Play the field

So the 36th BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival comes to a close today, following last night's closing night world premiere for the energising documentary Tramps! It's been a great festival this year - especially nice to be back in person after two virtual festivals - and I still have some short films to watch, and perhaps a feature or two. Links to full reviews will be up when possible. And my 10 best films of the festival are listed below this final collection of highlights...

In From the Side
dir Matt Carter; with Alexander Lincoln, Alexander King 22/UK ****
Skilfully directed by one-man movie studio Matt Carter, this British rugby movie is packed with big drama, sparky comedy and some powerfully emotional romance. The film may be a bit overlong and melodramatic, but it looks gorgeous and features a terrific cast of actors who bring the complex characters to bustling life. It also tackles deeper themes with remarkable nuance, which makes the movie both entertaining and surprisingly moving.

dir-scr Kevin Hegge; with Judy Blame, John Maybury 22/Can ****
This blisteringly energetic documentary covers the period of London's 1970s-80s art scene often known for the Blitz Kids or New Romantics. But filmmaker Kevin Hegge looks beyond high-profile stars like Boy George and related icons like David Bowie, digging much more deeply into the origins and textures of this ground-level movement. The film traces events with unusual intimacy, revealing intriguing queer sensibilities that are almost mainstream today.

dir-scr Mariano Biasin; with Martin Miller, Teo Inama Chiabrando 22/Arg ****
There's a realistic charge of loose-limbed energy in this coming-of-age drama from Argentina. Writer-director Mariano Biasin keeps the camera very close to the lead character, seeing events through his eyes. The internalised approach sometimes allows the narrative to drag a bit, but the film has the authentic kick of an autographical drama, getting under the skin with its organic mix of relaxed comedy and sharp-edged drama... REVIEW >

Dakan [aka Destiny]
dir-scr Mohamed Camara; with Aboubakar Toure, Mamady, Cecile Bois 97/Gui ****
Known as the first West African film to explore homosexuality, this Guinean drama is only available at retrospective screenings like this 25 year anniversary showing at BFI Flare. It's a strikingly powerful piece, written and directed with a poetic eye that cuts through the usual melodramatics to get under the skin of its central character, a teen who simply can't understand why it's such a scandal that he has fallen in love with another boy. The story takes some intense twists and turns on its way to an ending that's surprisingly tender for the genre and period. And its honesty makes it well worth a look.

Rich's Best of Fest

  1. A DISTANT PLACE (Park, Kor)
  2. MONEYBOYS (Yi, Tai)
  3. THE PERFECT DAVID (Aparicio, Arg)
  4. WILDHOOD (Hannam, Can)
  6. GIRL PICTURE (Haapasalo, Fin)
  7. SUBLIME (Biasin, Arg)
  8. THE NOVICE (Hadaway, US)
  10. THE DIVIDE (Corsini, Fr)

I have a bit of a backlog, but all full reviews will be linked to Shadows' BFI Flare ANCHOR PAGE 
For festival information, visit BFI FLARE 

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