BFI Flare 2019: 10 must-see LGBT films from London film festival

Zac Efron portrayed Ted Bundy in new film.

Wondering which LGBT+ films to watch from the BFI Flare 2019? We’ve got you covered.

No longer pushed out to the fringes, queer cinema is more popular than ever in the mainstream. LGBT+ movies like Call Me by Your Name and Love, Simon are making the leap from arthouse theatres to the multiplex while winning a few awards along the way too.

However, these films only represent a small fraction of the LGBT+ community and ‘success stories’ like Bohemian Rhapsody fail to even do a good job of that.

Fortunately, there’s still plenty of quality queer cinema to be found if you know where to look and the best place to start is at BFI Flare. Every year, the UK’s longest running LGBT+ film festival strives to give a voice to more diverse stories that are rarely seen on screen.

Covering sexuality in all of its forms, BFI Flare plays host to a mix of festival favourites and underrated gems that all demand your attention, but which LGBT+ movie should you see first?

From literary hoaxes and Guatemalan lovers to transgender troops and drag queen pensioners, here are 10 quality LGBT+ films we wholeheartedly recommend you go see at BFI Flare 2019.

We The Animals

Based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Justin Torres, We The Animals revolves around a young boy called Jonah who’s forced to navigate an abusive home and the surprising feelings he starts to develop for one of his neighbours. Jeremiah Zagar’s narrative feature debut might sound like a conventional coming-of-age story, but We The Animals is far more intelligent than that. This lucid dream of a movie explores the protagonist’s nascent sexuality with an impressionistic and yet somehow authentic tone that’ll keep you thinking long after you leave the cinema.   


Tucked isn’t the first film to star an odd couple who look past their differences to form a special bond, but there’s a reason why this story of two drag performers 60 years apart won the audience award at Outfest. Jordan Stephens brings a natural charisma to the role of Faith, a 21-year-old gay performer new to the club scene, but it’s 83-year-old Derren Nesbitt (who plays Jackie) who truly commands the screen here in a stunning career highlight.

Giant Little Ones

High school coming out stories are now a staple of LGBT+ cinema, but writer-director Keith Behrman smartly avoids the tropes of this mini-genre here with emotional honesty and authenticity. With the help of sumptuous visuals and a winning soundtrack, the friendship shared between Franky and Ballas transcends both societal norms and generic cliches while elevating Giant Little Ones to instant classic status. Expect to hear lots more about this one in the coming months.

The Silk And The Flame

Looking for a LGBT+ documentary film? The Silk and the Flame is the one for you. In this rather insightful documentary, director Jordan Schiele trains his camera on a closeted gay man called Yao who travels back to his family’s village near Beijing so that they can celebrate the Chinese New Year together. Despite his impressive professional achievements, Yao is still a disappointment to both parents because of his supposed bachelor status. The complex bonds of guilt, duty and love that tie families together weigh down on Yao, yet his strength and commitment remain admirable throughout, complimented by Schiele’s gorgeous black and white photography.

The Gospel of Eureka

Religion and queerness are unlikely bedfellows at the best of times, but this documentary by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher dismantles such notions with a heartfelt look at the Bible Belt in Arkansas. Within the 2000 strong population of Eureka Springs, a thriving LGBT+ community exists alongside religious fundamentalists and together, they all live alongside each other in miraculous harmony. The gospel drag shows alone will have you screaming amen.

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