Be Gay Do Crime: Queer Crime Films

Inspired by an anarchist catchphrase, a collection of provocative films exploring the relationship between queerness and crime.

Be Gay, Do Crime – a phrase that can seem intimidating to the uninitiated. While commonly known as an anarchist slogan to be shouted at protests or graffitied on buildings, these four words have in recent years become associated with the works of cult directors such as Gregg Araki, who posit crime and anarchy as a form of resistance for queer characters. Rather than condoning crime, this season seeks to explore it. Why is crime so often queer people’s only choice for survival? Should we criminalise or celebrate the Robin Hoods of queer cinema? Be Gay, Do Crime celebrates queer films and directors you know, a few that you don’t and recontextualises some you may not have thought of as queer at all.

Grace Barber-Plentie, season programmer

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El ÁngelEl Ángel

Crime2018115 minsDirector: Luis Ortega

The controversial exploits of baby-faced Argentine serial killer Carlos Robledo Puch are exhilaratingly reinterpreted in this stylish biopic.

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The HandmaidenThe Handmaiden

Crime2016146 minsDirector: Park Chan-wook

Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Stoker) channels Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, to create a sumptuous twisty psychological thriller full of erotic intrigue.

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The Living EndThe Living End

Drama199285 minsDirector: Gregg Araki

In this cult piece of New Queer Cinema, two unlikely buddies hit the road with a nihilistic mission after they're both diagnosed with HIV.

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My Brother the DevilMy Brother the Devil

Drama2012107 minsDirector: Sally El Hosaini

Sally El Hosaini's feature debut tells of the love and disenchantment of two British-Egyptian brothers as gangs, drugs and sexuality come between them.

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Drama201895 minsDirector: Darko Štante

A teenage tearaway is forced to face up to his actions and confront his burgeoning sexuality, in this provocative Slovenian coming-of-age tale.

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Stranger by the LakeStranger by the Lake

Drama2013100 minsDirector: Alain Guiraudie

A young man witnesses a violent crime at a gay cruising ground and becomes obsessed with the killer in Alain Guiraudie’s acclaimed mystery-thriller.

Experience Be Gay Do Crime on the big screen at BFI Southbank.