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BFI's LGBTQ+ film festival returns for 33rd year

LGTBQ+ FILM FESTIVAL: Rafiki is on this year's programme (Image: Rafiki)

THE 2019 edition of the BFI’s LGBTQ+ film festival is under way.

For its 33rd year, BFI Flare is presenting more than 50 feature films, more than 80 shorts and a wide range of special events, guest appearances and club nights.

It opened with Chanya Button’s breath-taking period drama Vita & Virginia, charting the passionate relationship between literary trailblazer Virginia Woolf and enigmatic aristocrat Vita Sackville-West, starring Elizabeth Debicki and Gemma Arterton respectively. The centrepiece screening was the UK premiere of Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life, the latest documentary from Tomer Heymann, in which he paints an illuminating portrait of one of the world’s most successful gay porn stars.

Additional programme highlights include Marco Berger’s The Blond One, which sees a tentative friendship between young men blossom into a beautiful bromance, and Ondi Timoner’s Mapplethorpe, which stars Matt Smith as the legendary photographer of the title in a full-frontal homage to the devilish bad boy.

Tell It To The Bees (directed by Annabel Jankel), adapted from Fiona Shaw’s beloved novel, stars Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger as two women who fall in love in 1950s Scotland.

And elsewhere, the classic high school coming-out story gets a smart revision in the sharply perceptive teen drama Giant Little Ones (directed by Keith Behrman), featuring supporting turns from Mario Bello and Kyle MacLachlan.

Among the various themes emerging from this year’s programme, there are strong representations of bisexual, intersex and non-binary life.

The festival runs until March 31. For more information, see bfi.org.uk/flare

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