BFI Flare 2024 Round-Up

26 Mar 2024 in Film Features

5 mins

An institution of the European festival scene, BFI Flare is London's annual LGBTQ+ film festival which is more important than ever, with people from all over the world using the platform to tell queer stories that are vital, informative, exciting and thrillingly creative. Our curation team attended this year's edition of the festival to assess the talent and ideas on show and below you can find a selection of the films we would like to highlight for their depictions of resilence, love and much, much more.

Backspot (ages 14+)

In the world of competitive cheerleading, teenager Riley is desperate to impress her new coach when she's selected to train as part of an elite team, the Thunderhawks, alongside her girlfriend Amanda. Initially elated by the news of their inclusion, the duo are soon under no illusions of how tough the training will be. The impact of this pressure begins to manifest in various ways, from Riley's compulsive eyebrow-plucking to tensions in their previously bulletproof relationship. When their teammates are pushed to their physical and mental limit by their demanding coach, Amanda recoils from the opportunity and starts to question what her priorities are. Riley, meanwhile, is more determined than ever to prove her worth to all around her. Executively produced by Elliot Page and based on a short film of the same name, Backspot is the feature debut of filmmaker D.W. Waterson whose previous work in music videos lends itself to the frenetic and pulsating world of this story. [Michael Prescott]

Close to You (ages 14+)

Elliot Page also produced and stars in this riveting Canadian drama about a trans man navigating an awkward family reunion. Sam has been living in Toronto for almost five years, his outlook on life vastly improving since his transition. On the train towards his hometown to visit his estranged family for his dad's birthday, Sam bumps into an old friend, Kathrine, and feelings from their unresolved past start to bubble up. While Sam's parents and many siblings say they accept his identity and mostly seem relieved to be back together again, there's friction and complications as they clumsily attempt to reconnect. The dialogue of this sharply perceptive film was largely improvised, resulting in some powerfully cathartic and relatable scenes about family expectations and being unapologetically yourself. [Charlotte Micklewright]


We Are Perfect (ages 14+)

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own experiences that we forget about those who are living through a completely different existence. Whilst conversations around LGBTQ+ rights in countries like the UK and the US often take centre stage in our media landscape, the queer people of Poland are facing a dangerous and volatile future ahead of them due to the rise of extremist beliefs and bigotry. This intimate and proud documentary follows a group of young non-binary and trans people as they audition for a film, Fanfic, being made by Netflix in Poland, exploring their experiences with acceptance from their families, the Polish government and themselves. Refusing to accept that all queer experiences are the same, We Are Perfect is an affecting and timely insight into the lives, challenges and future of Poland's queer youth. [Steven Ryder]


Silver Haze (ages 16+)

Beautifully shot, this British drama offers a mixture of social realist grit and a dreamy, glowing infusion of hope, connection and love. Franky is a nurse in her early twenties, whose body is etched in scars from a house fire she only just survived as a child. She and her family still suspect foul play, and Franky's deep-seated resentment seems to be holding her back from moving on in life. But when she falls in love with the young and impulsive Florence, who is struggling with her own issues, Franky's emotions start spilling over. The story sensitively intersects topics such as trauma, class, sexuality, toxic relationships, illness and chosen families in a resonating, true-to-life manner with much positive representation. [Charlotte Micklewright]

This film is released in UK cinemas on 29 March 2024 (certificate 15): find your nearest screening here.

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