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BFI Flare: Part 2 of our round-up from London’s LGBT film festival

March 24, 2017

FilmReview | by Cormac O'Brien


London’s leading LGBT film festival BFI Flare, now in its 31st edition, runs from the 16th – 26th March, featuring classic and contemporary cinema from across the globe.

This is part 2 of our round up of the festival:

The Handmaiden

An exquisite Korean adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel by director Park Chan-Wook (Old Boy, Stoker), The Handmaiden depicts the arrival of a new servant Sook-Hee (Tae-ri Kim) to the home of the incredibly wealthy Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee). Sook-Hee, an undercover crook, along with her cohort Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo) have plans to seize all of Heideko’s fortune. When Lady Heideko proves not as shrewder than the two initially thought, an uncalculated love affair between mistress and servant subverts all their well made plans. In every aspect a beautifully crafted film: plot, pace, cinematography and acting all have a breathtaking attention to detail. With an underlying lesbian love story bringing a punk edge to a Korean setting, The Handmaiden is highly recommended!

Out of Iraq

An enjoyable and captivating documentary that highlights the treatment of LGBT communities in Iraq. Out of Iraq is based around the love between two local soldiers, Nayyef and Btoo. After the Iraq war ends, Nayyef is granted a green card to the America in return for his services to the US army. We follow the couple’s trials and tribulations as Btoo attempts a difficult journey from Iraq to Seattle. A mash-up documentary style of phone videos, skype calls and live interviewing: everything is dressed in brilliantly tacky graphics. Btoo and Nayyef’s over-the-top declarations of love are endearing and, despite the kitschy-ness, a poignant underlying message will easily endear audiences.

Screening 25th Sat // 13:45 @ NFT2 // BFI

Body Electric

Body Electric is looks in to a chapter in the life of handsome factory worker 23-year-old Elias (Kelner Macedo). Continuously dipping in and out of scenes as Elias navigates the vibrant party scene in Sao Paolo, Body Electric is a beautiful piece of work. With a naturalistic documentary feel, not just in the setting but in all the actors’ deliveries, nothing feels staged or over-acted. In truth, nothing much happens, but it remains an engagingly told story throughout.

Screening 25th Sat //  20:50  @ NFT2 // BFI

Signature Move

A cute film about a discreetly gay second generation US born Pakistani, Zainab lives with her over–possessive mum Parveen (Shabana Amzi) in Chicago. But when Zaynab meets carefree Alma (Sari Sanchez), she is forced to question her repressed lifestyle. Playing upon the stereotypical ideas of repressive attitudes toward homosexuality, Signature move is, at times, predictable with choppy cinematography. But a surprise ending and well-played cast make this an entertaining watch.

Screenings 26 Sun // 18:15 @ NFT1 // 20:40 @ NFT1 // BFI

Miles

Pitch perfect indie flick Miles tells the story of 17-year-old Miles Walton (Tim Boardman) and his mum Pam Walton (all-time indie queen Molly Shannon). After the sudden death of his father, Mile’s discover they he and his mother are broke, and his father has spent his college savings on a young mistress. Miles in a bid to get a University scholarship in Chicago, joins the women’s volleyball team to the uproar of his small town. An incredibly feel-good movie from beginning to end, that avoids the clichés and cheesiness familiar to the genre: nostalgic scenes of dial-up internet and late 90s online chatrooms are a bonus!

Words by Daniel Theophanous