London-set gay football drama The Pass starring Russell Tovey will open the BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival next month, it was announced last night. The film tells the tale of two lads who have risen through the ranks together but cross the line one night when horseplay turns into an unexpected romantic encounter. The story, based on a Royal Court play by Jack Donnelly, then charts a tortured decade for the pair in a sport that still has very few openly gay players.
The similarly themed Australian film Holding The Man delves into similar territory for two young rugby players, and features Guy Pearce, Geoffrey Rush and Kerry Fox. Other highlights of the 11 day festival, now in its 30th year, include a revealing documentary about photographer-provocateur Robert Mapplethorpe, a sing-a-long screening of Calamity Jane and screenings of recent hits Carol and Tangerine.
There are a few new French movies worth a look, two of them set in gay Paris. Summertime depicts a lesbian love affair in the 1970s, while Theo and Hugo gets down and dirty in the legendary naked sex club L’Impacte. The more demure Departure, featuring Juliet Stevenson, heads to the south of France where a troubled teen’s holiday turns into a sexual awakening.
One other London-y film to look out for is a work-in-progress screening of Rebel Dykes, which documents the capital’s lesbian scene in the 1980s. We’d also be remiss not to mention the short film with the best title in the festival: a zombie splatterfest set in a gay London bathhouse called Sauna The Dead.
In all there are 50 features and 100 shorts with a range of discussions, Q&As, workshops and club and quiz nights. Notable events include Transform a series of events about on-screen depictions of transgender people (including a talk with Silas Howard, the transgender director of TV hit Transparent), and also an exhibition and special program themed around the subject of Queer Science and new technology. The festival is divided into three strands: Hearts, Minds and Bodies and will run.
The BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival runs from 16-27 March. Tickets go on sale to the public from 29 February, while BFI members can book from 24 February.