BFI Flare 2017: Moonlight + A Romp Through Classic Camp + Transcendent Tales

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

"Moonlight tells the story of Little, who becomes Chiron, who becomes Black; a young African American boy who changes from timid child, to bullied teen, to remote and reticent man."

Are you sick of Moonlight yet?

Let me clarify that. Are you someone who hasn't seen Moonlight, and is sick of hearing about it? A think piece here, another interview with one of the cast and crew there, yet more news about award nominations (or that Oscar controversy). How many times have you seen that same still of the actors in the ocean? Or that amazing poster? The hype started a long time ago; it might even predate the US election campaign that never ended (and then it did, and we wish it hadn't). You might get to feeling, "Moonlight: Meh! I haven't seen it, but I'm just sick of it now. Enough!"

But set aside all that noise and hype. Moonlight is subtle, delicate, beautiful, something we should be whispering to each other, because it is everything it's hyped to be, and more. It belongs to us, not the masses who've jumped on the bandwagon.

There's not much I can say that hasn't been said already, except to say that, of all the incredible performances, I found Ashton Sanders' (as the teenage Chiron) the most powerful. At times his performance is so raw it's almost impossible to look at him. But when you do, you'll never forget.

A Romp Through Classic Camp
With A Romp through Classic Camp, new Flare programmer Zorian Clayton takes us on a "whistle-stop tour" through the history of camp cinema.

Carmen Miranda, Kenneth Williams in Carry On, Elizabeth Taylor in BoomPink Narcissus, and an utterly mesmerising Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar - what's not to love? Billed as a "clip lecture", I couldn't help but wish the lecture element had been delivered by Flare's droll (and camp classic) Brian Robinson. The clips presented here left me wanting more; that's not a bad thing, is it? (I saw this with my bestie, Rogue "Marbie" Scott, who was less impressed.)

Transcendent Tales ("bold and beautiful fictional shorts from first inklings to years after transition") opens with Kopřiva (Eng: The Nettle).

Directed by Piaoyu Xie, Vojtech Hrabák plays Nikola, whose doubt and confusion is palpable in a dreamy Czech Republic.

Diane From The Moon
Tear Jerker (director: Amy Adler - read an interview with her here) is a strong piece about Elliot (Sam Joans), a trans guy. There's an agonising scene in which he's confronted with his ex and her new alpha male jock boyfriend. Who wouldn't empathise with that?

Diane from the Moon (Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via direct) stars Mya Taylor (Tangerine - read an interview about her new role here) as a "pagan priestess who takes no prisoners". Sold?

I could watch Taylor reading a bus timetable, and she doesn't disappoint in this clever film with a heart-in-the-mouth ending.

Victor XX (director: Ian Garrido) tackles trans and racial issues in Spain. Alba Martínez is superb as the titular Victor.

"Trans theatre pro" Kate O’Donnell stars in the autobiographical MUM (director: Anne-Marie O’Connor), a touching (and funny) ode to the Irish family. O'Donnell was present to help introduce the film, looking stunning in a sparkly top. She has an incredible presence, and I'd love to see a lot more of her (there's a great interview with her here).

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: Shadow and Act..


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