K A O S
B F I F L A R E
L o n d o n L G B T F i l m F e s t i v a l 2 0 1 7
First up, we have Brief Encounters, "four films about getting what you want, or what you think you want."
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it is (to coin a phrase) a hideously white series of shorts. It's hard to fathom why the BFI would (yet again) think it's okay to present a series of shorts on the LGBT experience in which all of the films are about white gay men.
Herculanum (director: Arthur Cahn) is set in a gorgeous Paris apartment. It's therefore no surprise that it's also agonisingly romantic. It's gorgeous. There's a volcano. I loved it.
Back in 2015, I saw Kate Kunath's heartbreaking documentary We Came To Sweat, about Brooklyn's pre-Stonewall, black-owned gay bar the Starlite Lounge, which was facing closure (spoiler: it closed) after fifty years. Jewel's Catch One is in a similar vein, with director C. Fitz racing against the clock to preserve history. And what history.
|Jewel's Catch One|
The key difference with Sweat (apart from tone - whereas as that was a story about a losing battle, this is a joyful celebration) is the focus on Jewel herself. Jewel is Catch One, and this film is about her as much as it is her legendary club.
Jewel was actually present at the screening (with Snap! vocalist Thea Austin, who serenaded the great lady), and her very presence permeated the room with a sense joy and goodness. She's an inspiration, and a beacon of hope. She's something to believe in.
Every year, KAOS reports from the annual BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival. This year, I'll be reviewing eleven films (including a few programmes of shorts). Next time: A Romp Through Classic Camp, plus Transcendent Tales..