Five to see at the LFF: queer cinema

This year’s line-up boasts some of the most eagerly anticipated LGBT films in recent memory. Here’s a handful to get you started.

Alex Davidson
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Blue Is the Warmest Colour

Blue Is the Warmest Colour

Blue Is the Warmest Colour

What’s it about?

A student (Adèle Exarchopoulos) becomes the muse and lover of an artist with blue-dyed hair (Léa Seydoux) in this epic, passionate romance. It won the Palme d’or at Cannes and earned column inches for its explicit scenes of lesbian sex.

Who made it?

Franco-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche has been a regular winner of the Best Film accolade at the César awards (the French equivalent of the Baftas) for his portraits of the immigrant experience, such as L’Esquive (2003) and Couscous (2007). Black Venus (2010) tells the story of Sarah Baartman, a slave woman exhibited as a freak in 19th-century Europe.

What critics are saying

“To me the sex seems as convincing as it needs to be. Sure, the actresses are gorgeous, as few humans are, and Kechiche’s camera seems bewitched by Exarchopoulos’s mouth. But it’s the rapture that convinces me, not the orgasms.” Nick James, Sight & Sound

Floating Skyscrapers

Floating Skyscrapers

Floating Skyscrapers

What’s it about?

Described by its director as “the first Polish LGBT film”, the provocative Floating Skyscrapers follows a bisexual love triangle between a champion swimmer, his girlfriend and another young man.

Who made it?

This is Tomasz Wasilewski’s second film following In the Bedroom, a strange tale of a woman of no fixed abode who meets men on the internet, drugs them, uses their amenities and flees into the night. Floating Skyscrapers is one of two major Polish gay films to receive festival attention this year, after In the Name Of won the Teddy award at Berlin.

What critics are saying

“The young central trio of actors is a wonder to behold…Wasilewski shows he’s got a good eye for widescreen compositions and interesting angles and excels at using sound – or the absence of it – to conjure up images and emotions that are actually kept off-screen.” Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

Me, Myself and Mum

Me, Myself and Mum

Me, Myself and Mum

What’s it about?

Guillaume Gallienne adapts his autobiographical one-man show for the big screen, reliving his dysfunctional childhood where all those around him were convinced he is really a girl. Playing gender crisis for laughs, this hit at Cannes stars Gallienne as both himself and as his eccentric mother.

Who made it?

Until recently, Gallienne has been best known for his acting career, taking supporting roles in Fanfan la Tulipe (2003), Marie Antoinette (2006) and Asterix and Obelix: God Save Britannia (2012). He is about to star as Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent’s business partner and lover, in a biopic about the fashion designer. Me, Myself and Mum is his directorial debut.

What critics are saying

“The tone manages to be both poignant and hilarious with a Pedro Almodovar-esque affection for the female of the species. It’s a crowd-pleaser and only the most stern of hearts and minds could fail to be seduced by its charm and the incredible persona of Gallienne.” Richard Mowe, Eye for Film

Stranger by the Lake

Stranger by the Lake (2013)

Stranger by the Lake (2013)

What’s it about?

In a cruising spot in southern France, a gay man falls for the attractions of a mysterious stranger who may be a murderer. This exploration of love, sexual attraction and dangerous desire won both the Best Director and Queer Palm awards at Cannes.

Who made it?

Alain Guiraudie’s mid-length feature Real Cool Time (2001), showing the simmering sexual tensions in the all-male environment of a closing factory, heralded a major new talent. He followed it with No Rest for the Brave (2003), a surreal tale of a teenager who believes he will die if he falls asleep, and The King of Escape (2009), about a gay man who falls in love with a girl and goes on the run.

What critics are saying

“Go in aware that much of the sex is unsimulated, then revel in the ways Guiraudie uses his rigorous perspective…But also go in knowing that there are very real, very potent emotions underlying every action, be it an explicit sex act, a lingering embrace, or a horrible realization that meting out death does not necessarily preclude love.” Keith Uhlich, Time Out

Vic + Flo Saw a Bear

Vic + Flo Saw a Bear

Vic + Flo Saw a Bear

What’s it about?

On her release from prison, Vic (Pierrette Robitaille) is reunited with her lover and fellow former convict Flo (Romane Bohringer), moving into the wilds of Quebec to start a new life, free of disruption. Fate has other ideas.

Who made it?

Denis Côté’s experimental short films were shown at Festivals worldwide before he moved into features, which include Our Private Lives (2007), another tale of passion in Quebec’s countryside, Carcasses (2009), a quasi-documentary about a Montreal junkyard collector and Bestiaire (2012), a deconstruction of the traditional representation of animals on screen.

What critics are saying

“A rich, humane, surprising film, Vic + Flo Saw a Bear manages to mix the drollery of Wes Anderson, the genre swagger of Tarantino or the Coen Brothers and the opaque narrative of Bruno Dumont in one intriguing package.” Lee Marshall, Screen Daily

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