This colourful and challenging collection explores screen representations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lives over the past century.
British cinema boasts a long history of carefully coded queerness, but for much of the 20th century explicit depictions of gay life in drama or documentary were more or less taboo. Gay men were subject to vicious state-sanctioned persecution, while lesbians were socially ostracised and the transgender community ignored and misunderstood. Cinematic and small-screen breakthroughs in the 1950s and 60s played their part in the public debate. Finally acting on the recommendations of the Wolfenden Committee a decade earlier, the 1967 Sexual Offences Act partially decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales, between two men over 21, in private. As those caveats suggest, the legislation remained problematic. But it was a step forward, paving the way for further battles - some yet to be won. From early glimpses of 'queer' characters, this collection charts the path towards '67 and beyond, through responses to the AIDS crisis to diverse reflections on queer life today.
Drama201586 minsDirector: Ben A. Williams
Russell Tovey stars as a Premier League footballer who shares a fumbled pass (of the sexual kind) with a teammate (Arinzé Kene), changing everything - both on and off the pitch.
50 Years Legal
Documentary201777 minsDirector: Simon Napier-Bell
Five decades on from the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, a range of LGBTQ+ stars (including Sir Elton John and Stephen Fry) reflect on Britain's history of prejudice, persecution and liberation.
The Book of Gabrielle
Drama201679 minsDirector: Lisa Gornick
Lisa Gornick's funny and frank drama sketches the relationship between a sex-obsessed lesbian illustrator and a randy hetero author, who bond over their favourite subject.
Romance198968 minsDirector: Robert Smith
Robert Smith's Wild Flowers is an exquisite drama set at the funeral for a daughter, where her mother remembers the passionate yet painful affair she once had with another woman in Scotland.
Entertaining Mr Sloane
Comedy197094 minsDirector: Douglas Hickox
Joe Orton’s delicious slice of suburban perversity, in which Beryl Reid’s lascivious landlady and her gay brother attempt to seduce their psychopathic tenant.
Entertaining Mr Sloane
196881 minsDirector: Peter Moffatt
Surprisingly risqué TV adaptation of one of Joe Orton’s best known plays, filmed shortly after his murder.
Historical drama197685 minsDirector: Paul Humfress
A distinctly bold and sensual reclaiming of gay history, Jarman here tells the sexually intense story of the 4th-century martyr.
Drama1977106 minsDirector: Derek Jarman
The mythological past and a soon-to-be bleak future converge on the sparse, grey streets of London in Jarman’s personal vision of the punk movement.
Drama197996 minsDirector: Derek Jarman
Derek Jarman’s brooding and darkly symbolic third feature is considered by some to be the most evocative Shakespeare adaptation ever to reach the screen.
Biopic198693 minsDirector: Derek Jarman
Derek Jarman’s unique biopic of the 17th century Italian artist Michelangelo da Caravaggio is a powerful meditation on sexuality, criminality and art.
The Angelic Conversation
Animation & Artists Moving Image198581 minsDirector: Derek Jarman
The Angelic Conversation sees Derek Jarman conjure an evocative and radical visualisation of Shakespeare’s love poems. With narration by Judi Dench and music by Coil.
Derek Jarman: Life As Art
Documentary200460 minsDirector: Andy Kimpton-Nye
Documentary on the life and work of experimental filmmaker, who died in 1994. Contributors including Tilda Swinton recall Jarman's peculiar genius.
A Bit of Scarlet
Documentary199671 minsDirector: Andrea Weiss
Mapping how British film and TV depicts the gay and lesbian lifestyle, Andrea Weiss raids the archives for her funny and persuasive documentary.
Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon
Biopic199887 minsDirector: John Maybury
Derek Jacobi and Daniel Craig star as artist Francis Bacon and his muse George Dyer in John Maybury’s darkly exquisite biopic.
Comedy2014120 minsDirector: Matthew Warchus
The smash culture-clash comedy tells the incredible true story of how miners and a Gay Pride support group come together to fight a common cause.
3 Steps to Heaven
Drama199587 minsDirector: Constantine Giannaris
Edgy mixture of black comedy and urban drama about a woman uncovering the hidden truths about her dead lover.
Drama200970 minsDirector: Andrew Haigh
Acclaimed filmmaker Andrew Haigh (Weekend, 45 Years) made his feature debut with this bold, sexually explicit drama-documentary about London rent boys.
Dressed as a Girl
Documentary2015101 minsDirector: Colin Rothbart
An in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at London’s finest drag performers. Warning: extreme use of make-up and glitter.
Drama199591 minsDirector: Christopher Newby
John Hannah stars as a painfully shy gay man who escapes the city in Chris Newby’s extraordinary second feature.
Drama2015108 minsDirector: Andrew Steggall
Andrew Steggall’s deft and delicate drama about a teenage dreamer who falls for the rough beauty of local boy while staying in France.
A Boy Called Mary
198652 minsDirector: Paul Oremland
The fabulous life and times of queer writer Kris Kirk, who became one of the UK’s most influential music journalists.
Remembrance of Things Fast
Animation & Artists Moving Image199362 minsDirector: John Maybury
John Maybury’s dark, queer state of the nation film starring Tilda Swinton and Rupert Everett
Science Fiction201518 minsDirector: Lloyd Eyre-Morgan
Tommy Knight (The Sarah Jane Adventures, Waterloo Road, Young Victoria) stars in this light-hearted drama as Henry, a teenager struggling with his sexuality in 1986.
The Crying Game
Drama1992112 minsDirector: Neil Jordan
Neil Jordan's acclaimed 1992 drama-mystery tells the story of Fergus (Stephen Rea), who looks after the lover (Jaye Davidson) of a British soldier he once knew. But what is Dil hiding?
Comedy199691 minsDirector: Hettie Macdonald
Hettie MacDonald’s 1996 comedy tells the story of two classmates and neighbours (Glen Berry, Scott Neal) who fall in love in over one summer in South East London.
The L-shaped Room
Drama1962126 minsDirector: Bryan Forbes
Bryan Forbes directs the Oscar-nominated story of a French woman (Leslie Caron) moving to London while unmarried, pregnant, and alone.
Biopic199372 minsDirector: Derek Jarman
Written for Channel 4 by radical literary theorist Terry Eagleton and directed by Derek Jarman, Wittgenstein is a bold, offbeat biography, exploring the politics and sexuality of the great, troubled philosopher.
Boys and Girls Together
Sex comedy197955 minsDirector: Ralph Lawrence Marsden
Extraordinary 1970s sexploitation film, groundbreaking in its portrayal of interracial and homosexual sex.