Ones to watch

What to see at this weekend’s BFI Flare
By Christie Spelman | 14 March 2024

The BFI’s annual LGBTQ+ film festival Flare is officially opening this weekend and, as per usual, the line-up is beyond stacked. From the opening night film, Layla, Amrou Al-Kadhi’s drama set in the London drag scene, to the closing night film, Lady Like, a documentary about the legendary Lady Camden, Flare isn’t just about showing great films, there’s also special Screen Talks, DJ nights, quiz nights, and industry days.

Naturally, the huge programme can be overwhelming, so we’ve whittled it down a bit for you. This is our selection of the films and events at BFI Flare that, simply, are unmissable.

Elliot Page in Close to You, dir. Dominic Savage

Close to You
An intimate talk with Elliot Page, whose film Close to You is receiving its European premiere at Flare, will take place on March 15th. The film, which is Page’s first major role since announcing his transition in 2020, follows Sam, a trans man returning home after his recent transition. Page acts as producer, co-writer and star of the film, which was positively received after its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival.

In the film, Page finds himself confronting unanswered questions and suppressed feelings from his childhood that challenge familial relationships, love, and self-worth. A feeling shared by many in the LGBTQ+ community, Page highlights a shared sense of fear when confronting your younger self. During the talk, he will take us through his career in the film industry and the ways he navigated Hollywood at the time of uncertain challenges which he faced, and still faces, as a trans man.

The event is sold out but will appear on YouTube shortly afterwards. Tickets are still available for screenings of Close to You and can be bought here.


Studio One Forever
“If anybody tells you they were there in the 70s and remembers it… they weren’t there.”

This documentary delves into the joyous and debauched history of Hollywood’s Studio One, the famed disco that became the West Coast’s answer to Studio 54. A celebration of all things disco, Studio One Forever focuses on the gay community of the era and highlights the legacy of the legendary nightclub. A regular haunt for Cary Grant, Bette Davis and Joan Rivers, the club’s influence on Hollywood culture and society was truly immense. Featuring archival footage and soundtracked by some of the club’s biggest anthems, Studio One Forever is a decadent ode to a golden era of gay culture.

Buy tickets here.

DJ Tony De Vit who features in Don’t Ever Stop, dir. Stuart Pollitt

Don’t Ever Stop

The story of renowned DJ and producer Tony de Vit, Don’t Ever Stop details the influence of his music at a time of uncertainty in the gay community. The peak of the AIDS epidemic in the 90s meant that music brought many together during these times when the gay community was in search of a distraction from the bleakness of their world. Close friends to de Vit relive their interactions through interviews alongside his own words. This is a profoundly moving tale of hard beats, heavy living, ecstasy and the continuing legacy of the late great DJ.

Buy tickets here.


Commitment to Life
Jeffrey Schwarz’s documentary Commitment to Life chronicles the battle against AIDS in Los Angeles during the height of the epidemic. Featuring rare archival footage, the film shows how the medical community came together with celebrities and other affluent figures to help fund and spread awareness that the disease was not just something that affected gay men, but was a threat to everybody in the country.

Buy tickets here.


Katy O’Brian and Kristen Stewart in Love Lies Bleeding, dir. Rose Glass

Love Lies Bleeding
Probably the most anticipated film of the festival, the Kristen Stewart-lesbian-bodybuilder-thriller Love Lies Bleeding is the sophomore feature from Saint Maud director Rose Glass. The film follows Stewart’s character Lou, a gym manager, who falls for Katy O’Brian’s Jackie, a bodybuilder who is travelling to Las Vegas to fulfil all her bodybuilding dreams. Full of sexual and romantic tension and with nods to neo-noir cinema, Loves Lies Bleeding is going to be unmissable.

Buy tickets here.


Hidden Master: The Legacy of George Platt Lynes
A celebration of renowned photographer George Platt Lynes, Sam Shahid’s documentary brings to light Lynes secret archive of male nudity photography and his timeless celebrity portraits. A well-known name in the international queer community, Lynes adoration of the male form inspired by lovers, film stars, dancers, and others in the community is shown through this sublime documentary.

Buy tickets here.


Amrit Kaur in The Queen of My Dreams, dir. Fawzia Mirza

The Queen of My Dreams
Fawzia Mirza’s 2023 film The Queen of My Dreams reveals a gripping story of multi-generations of women and the conflicts of conformity in the Muslim/Pakistani diaspora. The film is shadowed with classic Bollywood films that provide a sense of nostalgia. We see two women, a mother, and a daughter living in Toronto from Pakistan trying to navigate and acclimatise to a foreign Western culture: the mother is a conservative Muslim wanting to continue the traditions known to her, but the daughter’s queerness allows for the two to hand-in-hand navigate their joint coming of age in their new life together.

Buy tickets here.


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