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.
Biopic2021118 minsDirector: Francis Lee
Francis Lee follows up God’s Own Country with a film that is every bit as immersive, tactile and emotionally powerful, aided by the devastatingly good Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.
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?
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.
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.
Biopic1987110 minsDirector: Stephen Frears
A celebration of outrageous British playwright Joe Orton’s irreverent and charismatic talent, starring Gary Oldman and Alfred Molina.
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.
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.
Drama1988103 minsDirector: Philip Saville
Berated by his father for his camp behaviour, Eddie runs away from his Liverpool home and joins his friend Michael, a streetwise hustler who is also on the run.
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.
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 over one summer in South East London.
Sex comedy197955 minsDirector: Ralph Lawrence Marsden
Extraordinary 1970s sexploitation film, groundbreaking in its portrayal of interracial and homosexual sex.
Drama201686 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.
Crime198726 minsDirector: Julian Cole
Ostia is a fascinating short film directed by Julian Cole and starring Derek Jarman, which reconstructs the events leading up to the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini.
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.
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.
Drama199587 minsDirector: Constantine Giannaris
Edgy mixture of black comedy and urban drama about a woman uncovering the hidden truths about her dead lover.
Drama2016108 minsDirector: Andrew Steggall
Andrew Steggall’s deft and delicate drama about a teenage dreamer who falls for the rough beauty of a local boy while staying in France.
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.
Drama197175 minsDirector: Joseph Despins and William Dumaresq
A bizarre study of obsession focusing on a teenage boy who is torn between the charms of a fleshly female prostitute and the sadism of an older man.
Animation & Artists Moving Image199362 minsDirector: John Maybury
John Maybury’s dark, queer state of the nation film starring Tilda Swinton and Rupert Everett
Drama199591 minsDirector: Christopher Newby
John Hannah stars as a painfully shy gay man who escapes the city in Chris Newby’s extraordinary second feature.
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.
Drama199135 minsDirector: Constantine Giannaris
Years before Grindr, a gay man turns to virtual reality to satisfy his sexual fantasies in this strangely prophetic short film.