Despite dealing with ritual circumcision in the Xhosa community, a long standing hot button topic in South African culture (Nelson Mandela himself went through the same initiation process outlined here), director John Trengrove’s film is refreshingly not an “issue movie”.
BPM (Beats Per Minute) is a fiercely angry and impassioned work of political cinema that is vibrant, sometimes hilarious and frequently tearjerking – and most importantly, it is unapologetically queer in a way so few films on the AIDS crisis allow themselves to be. This is a film squarely focused on documenting a moment in history for gay audiences, offering concessions to straight viewers only in the sense that it offers them a chance to showcase basic empathy and be moved by a story that deals with a culture they won’t be able to relate to.
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.
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.
The Iris Prize is now in its 11th year and once again will showcase some of the best LGBT+ short films from around the world. Since it began in 2007, the prize has allowed filmmakers from as far afield as Australia, Israel and Brazil to produce a brand new short film in the UK, with a current budget of £30,000, thanks to the support of the Michael Bishop Foundation.
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.
Boys for Sale (売買ボーイズ) interviews several current and past sex workers about how they got into the sex industry, why they chose this work, their experiences as such and their life plans for once they move on from it – or, if they’re no longer working as such, what they’ve done since. The reasons are surprising and the stories are compelling – though at times, some are also bit sad and others even heartbreaking.
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.