BFI selects eight of the best queer films for your self-isolated pleasure

Still taken from Body Electric, courtesy of BFI

As London’s biggest LGBTIQ+ film festival cancels due to the ongoing corona outbreak, its Senior Programmer has hand-picked the best queer films from its previous editions, available on BFI Player, and tells you why they’re so good.

BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival was just one of many planned events falling victim to COVID-19 earlier this week. But the closure shouldn’t mean we can’t celebrate the best in queer films, filmmakers, directors, producers and actors, should it?

Below, the festival’s Senior Programmer, Michael Blyth, has selected eight of his favourite queer films available to stream on the BFI Player, and even tells you just why they are so damn good.

Alongside the films listed below, an extensive library of classic LGBTIQ+ films, from Derek Jarman’s 1986 drama Caravaggio to My Beautiful Launderette (1986) starring a young Daniel Day-Lewis, are available on the online film service. So, what are you waiting for?


Shot over the course of a year, this beautifully realised Australian drama tells the story of a teenage girl dealing with her parent’s gender transition. Director Sophie Hyde (who picked up the Best Director Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival) worked with non-actors to achieve a sense of intimacy rarely captured on screen.”


Desiree Akhavan’s (The Miseducation of Cameron Post) riotously irreverent and sweetly heartfelt first feature follows Shirin (played by Akhavan herself), a Persian bisexual woman living in Brooklyn, as she rebuilds her life after a painful breakup. Easily one of the funniest queer films of the decade. If only all rom-coms could be this good.”


In this vibrant and evocative story of queer life in São Paulo, we follow a handsome young factory worker in his day to day life. The plot is loose and free-flowing, but what is so remarkable about this underseen modern gay classic is the way it captures a sense of community and the personal freedom that comes with expressing ones dreams and desires.”


A thoughtful and moving story of forbidden love set within Jerusalem’s Orthodox community, in which a married butcher begins a relationship with a younger man. The provocative subject matter is handled with grace and restraint, whilst never shying away from the emotional power that the story yields.”


Based on Sarah Waters’ acclaimed novel Fingersmith, Park Chan-wook’s sumptuous psychological thriller updates the action from Victorian-era Britain to 1930s Korea with extraordinary results. A young woman is hired to work for a wealthy Japanese heiress, but this new maid has a secret…”


Stylistically daring yet emotionally accessible, this distinctive mood piece follows Sebastian, a shy trans teen whose world is rocked by the arrival of an alluring young man named Andreas. A subversive, erotic and often incredibly romantic reflection on the body and what it means to forge your own identity.”


JJ’s relationship with her best friend Seb is put to the test when she falls for a beautiful diva named Elle. The debut film from Campbell X offers a rarely-seen portrait of queer black subcultures in east London, exuding a powerful sense of energy and authenticity.”


In a picturesque country house in Buenos Aires, Fernando gathers his mates for a boys-only vacation. As the lazy summer days disappear, boundaries begin to blur. A gorgeously photographed, teasingly libidinous exercise in latent homoeroticism which is both deeply sexy and surprisingly sweet.”

Michael Blyth’s film recommendations have come from the BFI Flare section of the BFI Player, available here.

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