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BFI Flare: Part 1 of our round-up from London’s LGBT film festival

March 21, 2017

Film + EntertainmentReview | 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 1 of our round up of the festival:

After Louie

Opening this year’s festival with a special presentation of new drama, After Louie portrays the life of an artist and activist Sam Cooper (Alan Cumming). A survivor of the AIDS epidemic he is confronted with his own prejudices and shortcomings when he meets the young Braeden (Zachary Booth). Colourful and highly watchable, After Louie puts across interesting and forward-thinking ideas about the world after the AIDS epidemic.

Below Her Mouth

An erotic lesbian-themed offering featuring Swedish supermodel Erika Linder as the striking androgynous-looking ‘roofer’ Dallas. Dallas’ usual aloofness and non-committal boldness give way when she meets the ‘straight’ and engaged fashion editor Jasmine (Natalie Krills). Below Her Mouth looks good with clear and slick scenes that are lit to perfection, but often verges on soft-porn, copious amounts of nudity and the countless extended sex scenes that leave nothing to the imagination. An abundance of naked flesh is unfortunately unable to save this film from quickly going down the pan. With little plot between one earth-shattering shag to the next, Below Her Mouth plays on stereotypes and jarring ‘Lifetime movie’ dialogue. 

Free Cece

Free Cece is an intimate documentary about the incarceration of a Cece McDonald; a black trans woman who in 2012 was wrongly accused of murder, while defending herself from an attack. Famous transgender actor Laverne Cox, (who based her character in Orange Is the New Black on Cece) leads the documentary, through interviews with Cece (pre-and post release), the defence, the prosecutors, as well as various transgender activists. Cece’s story helps shed light on the lack of safety that is felt by transgender women of colour: both in the streets but also within the prison system (Cece was held in a men’s prisons). A thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking documentary. Moments within Free Cece prove a hard-hitting and disturbing indictment of prejudice within the judicial system. We’re party to all of the prosecution’s transphobic and homophobic points of view. However, Cece is fascinating to watch as she unabashedly bares all on camera and is an inspiration to not let your past dictate your future.

Upcoming Screenings:  Tue 23 18:20  @ NFT2 / Wed 22 20:30 @ NFT3

Don’t Call Me Son

Don’t Call Me A Son is a Brazilian indie flick about a young closeted cross-dresser, Pierre. At first, confidently navigating adolescence with his penchant for female clothing, lingerie and make up. Pierre is sexually active with both boy and girls. Later, he is confronted with a harsh unknown truth about his past, his mum stole him rather than adopted him, and now his birth family have come to claim him. He is now having to come to terms with a whole new reality of new-found family and wealth. Pierre’s experimentation is presented in a refreshing manner and he effortlessly occupies both a masculine and a feminine space with an openness about exploring his sexuality with both sexes. Never feeling false or contrived, Director Anna Muylaert’s open direction presents these events realistically, making for a stylish, subtle movie that perfectly explores the themes of gender and familial relationships.

Upcoming Screenings:  Thu 23 18:15 / Fri 24th 18:15 @ Studio

BFI Flare runs through the 26th of March 2017 www.bfi.org.uk/flare


Words by Daniel Theophanous