Everyone in the UK seems fully intent of not letting the 50th Anniversary of the passing of the Law to decriminalize homosexuality to slip by unnoticed. Now the latest organization to join in is the British Film Institute (BFI) who, amongst other things, run BFI Flare London’s annual LGBT Film Festival. In an announcement issued today the BFI have released their ambitious and impressive schedule of how they intend to celebrate the momentous occasion with a whole swarth of some of the best classic British LGBT movies, and a few new ones to boot too.
A two-month season called Gross Indecency : Queer Lives Before & After the ’67 Act at the BFI Cinemas on London’s Southbank will include movies such as Victim from 1961 which not only denounced the poisonous, institutionalized homophobia that gay men of all classes faced, but it is credited with actually helping propel public discourse towards the 1967 Act. Banned in the US at the time as it was the first English language movie to include the word homosexual, the film was also noteworthy because it starred one of the country’s biggest matinee idols at the time Dirk Bogarde who courageously risked his career in taking on the role.
The second part of the BFI Southbank season will include several film adaptions of Joe Orton’s stage plays. Orton was a very openly gay playwright whose outrageously queer work made him the most successful and controversial writer of the early 1960’s until his untimely murder at the hands of his lover Kenneth Halliwell. As well as these movies, the BFI will also be screening Stephen Frears’ Prick Up Your Ears (1987) starring Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina and Vanessa Redgrave based on Orton’s own life. The screenplay was written by Alan Bennett and won acclaim on its initial release, including the prize for Best Artistic Contribution at Cannes in 1987.
As well as all the screenings (see full details at http://www.bfi.org.uk/lgbt50) many more classic and contemporary LGBT movies will be available online through the BFI Player. These will include cult favorites such as My Beautiful Launderette to more recent award-winners such as Andrew Haigh’s ground-breaking Weekend.
BFI Gross Indecency runs July 1st – August 31st 2017 : check http://www.bfi.org.uk/lgbt50 for full details.