From Victim to Weekend, we remember some of the best British gay films.
|BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival runs 20-30 March 2014.|
It’s been a terrific couple of years for British LGBT cinema, and two of the best queer films are showing at this year’s BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival: BAFTA-winning crowdpleaser Pride and Peter Strickland’s sensual exploration of two women cut off from the outside world in The Duke of Burgundy. We’re also showing some great new films – The Falling, the latest from Carol Morley, fresh from a glut of five-star reviews, and Dressed as a Girl, an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at London’s finest drag performers. Shorts programme Fragile Things brings together a selection of homegrown films exploring infatuation and desire, while Sally Potter’s Orlandoand the immortal The Rocky Horror Picture Show (at BFI IMAX!) round things off in a couple of special archive screenings.
Few countries can rival the UK when it comes to making great and diverse gay films. This may come as a surprise from a country where male homosexuality was illegal until as recently as 1967, and where gay marriage continues to ruffle right-wingers, swivel-eyed or otherwise. Yet despite their often taboo nature, films with gay characters have been around since the silent era.
So what key British gay films are out there? We’ve narrowed down the list to films easily available on DVD, although honourable mention must go to the über-rare Two Gentlemen Sharing (1969), a swinging slice of the 60s that hinted at interracial homosexuality. And if you like Vicious (millions seem to), you may get a perverse kick out of Staircase (1969), a dreadful vehicle for Richard Burton and Rex Harrison as two ageing queens in a perpetual state of mutual- and self-loathing.