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Believer

Essential Opinion: Believer

At one point in HBO’s original documentary Believer, Imagine Dragons vocalist Dan Reynolds is warned that he’s going to open himself up to criticism for organising a pro-LGBTQ concert – just not predominantly from the religiously conservative, but LGBTQ people aghast at a cis-gender, heterosexual white man co-opting their struggle. This is slightly unfair, as both the film and the charity concert presented within are born of good intentions that deserve the renewed spotlight this documentary will place upon them.

McKellen: Playing the Part

Essential Opinion: McKellen: Playing the Part

This film feels like a dream: a chance to sit down with Ian McKellen and talk about his life and career. McKellen: Playing the Part is a fascinating collection of interviews, snapshots, home movies and film clips, all narrated by the chatty McKellen, who fills every moment with intelligence, humour and emotion.

Every Act of Life

Gay Essential Review: Every Act of Life at FilmOut San Diego

Every Act of Life proves to be a surprisingly comprehensive documentary, effectively recounting six decades of a successful career at a brisk pace. For theatre fans, this is essential viewing – and for those of you like me, who shamefully don’t watch as many plays as they should, this is still well worth a look.

Paternal Rites

Gay Essential Review: Paternal Rites at XPOSED International Queer Film Festival

Out of all of XPOSED’s thrilling and uncanny candidates for this year’s edition, Paternal Rites is the most touching, brutal and indispensable. The international queer film festival’s heartrending addition allows us access into the troubled world of an abused child and now scarred adult who shyly and desperately seeks help to try and make sense of what happened to him.

The 34th

Gay Essential Review: The 34th at BFI Flare

Ireland has been a fairly cold, distant place for gay people for too long. It was only three years ago that the country had passed marriage equality through public vote, under the Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution. An inspiring documentary about the history of LGBTQ rights, The 34th sensibly depicts the long road to marriage equality in the Irish state, as well as the touching love story between politician Katherine Zappone and theologian Ann Louise Gilligan.

Sidney & Friends

Gay Essential Review: Sidney & Friends at BFI Flare

Prejudice, discrimination and hatred do not have to lead to loss of innocence and bitterness. This is what Sidney & Friends sublimely showcases in its exquisite seventy-five minutes – a riveting, but peaceful and vulnerable account of what it means to be transgender and intersex in the crude social climate of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco

Gay Essential Review: Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco at BFI Flare

Antonio Lopez was one of the most influential people in the fashion world, although almost no one outside it has heard of him. And this documentary is designed to set the record straight, as it were. It’s a lively, skilfully assembled portrait of a vibrant artist whose life and work made an indelible mark not just within fashion circles but in pop culture at large.

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