Five to see at LFF if you like... LGBT cinema

Carol may be getting the headlines, but there are many more wonderful LGBT films showing at this year’s BFI London Film Festival.

Alex Davidson
Updated:

Carol (2015)

Carol (2015)

We’ve been spoiled for choice with great queer films showing at this year’s BFI London Film Festival. Carol, the hugely acclaimed lesbian romance from Todd Haynes, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (who won the best actress award at Cannes) is one of the hottest tickets, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

British highlights include Chemsex, a hard-hitting doc about the drug sub-scene in London’s gay community, and Departure, starring Alex Lawther (The Imitation Game) as a young man on holiday in France attracted to the rough beauty of a local boy.

Here’s a selection of some of the best LGBT films showing at the festival.

Grandma

Grandma (2014)

Grandma (2014)

What’s it about?

A sharp-tongued lesbian poet in her 70s, wonderfully played by Lily Tomlin, embarks on a road trip through LA after her granddaughter turns up needing help. Following its well-received premiere at Sundance, some critics predict it will lead to an Oscar nomination for Tomlin.

Who made it?

Paul Weitz, best known for mainstream comedies American Pie (1999), About a Boy (2002) and Little Fockers (2010). Grandma is his finest work to date.

What critics are saying

“A most impressive detour into low-budget DIY filmmaking for writer-director Paul Weitz, this constantly surprising character piece should spark deserved awards chatter for Tomlin and at least one of her co-stars”  – Scott Foundas, Variety

Tangerine

Tangerine (2015)

Tangerine (2015)

What’s it about?

Two transgender working girls are in a vengeful mood in this Sundance smash, shot on iPhones in downtown LA.

Who made it?

Sean Baker, whose film Starlet (2012), an unpredictable and finally very moving drama about the relationship between a young woman and a senior citizen, also screened at the London Film Festival.

What critics are saying

“A fast, raucously funny comedy … Tangerine encompasses dizzying multitudes – it’s a neo-screwball chase flick with a dash of Rainer Werner Fassbinder – but mostly, movingly, it is a female-friendship movie” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

Nasty Baby

Nasty Baby (2014)

Nasty Baby (2014)

What’s it about?

A gay couple (Sebastián Silva and Tunde Adebimpe) are preparing to have a baby with their friend (Kristen Wiig) while facing problems with US immigration services.

Who made it?

Sebastián Silva, best known for his acclaimed, Golden Globe-nominated drama The Maid, about a housekeeper determined to hold on to her position. Nasty Baby won the Teddy award, honouring LGBT films, at Berlin.

What critics are saying

“Grade A: a subversive delight … manages to challenge notions of violence, morality, innocence, parenthood, and responsible child-rearing with a keen disregard for audience expectations” – An Banh, indiewire.com

Take Me to the River

Take Me to the River (2015)

Take Me to the River (2015)

What’s it about?

A family reunion becomes a tense nightmare for a stroppy gay teenager in this menacing drama, boasting an excellent performance from Robin Weigert (Concussion) as the antihero’s nervy mother.

Who made it?

Matt Sobel, who up until now has made only short films. Take Me to the River is his feature debut.

What critics are saying

“9/10: Sobel’s film masterfully leaves important details up to the viewer’s imagination … a potent blend of puberty, sexuality and conservative values” – Don Simpson, smellslikescreenspirit.com

Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere

Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere

Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere

What’s it about?

Huyen, a 17-year-old girl, becomes pregnant. After her feckless boyfriend loses the money that would have been spent on an abortion, she is left with some difficult decisions. When her trans best friend offers advice, things take a turn for the decidedly surreal in this unusual, striking film, laced with magical realism.

Who made it?

Vietnamese director Diep Hoang Nguyen, who has previously focused on the problems facing female characters in her short film The Fifth Season. Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere, which won an award at Venice, is her feature debut.

What critics are saying

“Formally daring, politically probing and several tropical fever dreams removed from Juno” – Guy Lodge, Variety

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