Less a documentary and more an unflinchingly personal essay, director Arshad Khan’s Abu: Father is moving and harrowing in equal measure. Utilising home video footage he has amassed since his childhood in Pakistan in the seventies, as well as scenes from the pop culture that played a pivotal role throughout the important stages of his life, Khan’s film deals with his lifelong struggle with his own sexuality and his relationship with his religiously conservative family.
Receiving its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, A Moment in the Reeds is the first ever Finnish LGBT romance film, following in the footsteps of some of the best gay love stories of recent years to forge a believable tale of two men thrown together by chance, forging an instant, deep connection with each other across the space of a few days.
After meeting in the early 2000’s and living a happy life together since then, the couple decided to finally tie the knot in 2013. The supreme court of Mexico had declared same sex marriage a constitutional right, so they planned to finally go ahead and get married – unfortunately, they lived in the state of Mexicali, which did not subscribe to the court’s ruling, objecting to their marriage on religious grounds.
On paper, the storyline to The Cakemaker sounds every bit as elegantly twisted as The Talented Mr Ripley, as a German baker integrates himself in to the life of his deceased lover’s wife in Jerusalem, building a deep connection with her while never disclosing the truth about his relationship with her other half.
Imagine the nightmarish horror The Blair Witch Project filtered through the surrealist lens of Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul and you’ve likely imagined The Ornithologist, a strange religious parable that is far closer to the stuff of nightmares than anything remotely holy. Coming from the mind of acclaimed Portuguese writer/director João Pedro Rodrigues, the end result is dense with religious mythology, and a wealth of alternate explanations as to the weird going’s on. It may leave you baffled – but it won’t leave you bored, and repeat viewings are only likely to make the film even richer.
Taking place in a small Texas town, A Very Sordid Wedding is set less than a month after marriage equality becomes the law of the land across the USA. As the small town church prepares to hold an anti-equality rally, Latrell (Bonnie Bedelia), the mother of a recently married gay son, takes it in to her own hands to protest this backward event.
With a narrative spanning over a decade, director David Berry, making his feature film debut by transforming the story in to a musical, using a mix of original and famous tracks (by artists varying from Regina Spektor to Ne-Yo), that help document the increasing years and romantic entanglements of Benjamin Bentley.
Being in the closet, struggling with self acceptance and worrying about what those close to you will think, is an emotional nightmare for anybody who has been through it. In Beach Rats director Eliza Hittman’s sophomore feature deals with coming out in a stylish, hyper masculine way that lays bare all the vulnerabilities of a character putting on a tough front to hide what he believes are temporary demons.
Set in 1983, the film depicts the growing friendship between gay writer Andrés (Eduardo Martinez), who has been banned from writing due to writing a subversive anti-government book, and the revolutionary woman (Lola Amores) tasked with keeping an eye on him for three days while a major event takes place down in their village.
Allan Carr was an outspoken, flamboyant personality who remained constantly in vocal opposition to the kinds of films Hollywood was making during the seventies – something he fought back against by producing Grease, the highest grossing musical of all time and a zeitgeist capturing sensation to this very day.