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.
Drama1987140 minsDirector: James Ivory
Merchant Ivory’s landmark adaptation of E M Forster’s classic LGBTQ+ novel and a precursor to the James Ivory-scripted Call Me By Your Name, starring Hugh Grant, James Wilby and Rupert Graves.
Drama1978113 minsDirector: Ron Peck
A schoolteacher juggles everyday life with nights spent cruising for Mr Right in this fascinating landmark in British gay cinema.
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.
Documentary199191 minsDirector: Ron Peck
Ron Peck’s experimental follow up to the groundbreaking Nighthawks is both a making-of documentary and a deeply personal film memoir.
Drama198028 minsDirector: Terence Davies
Autobiography as art: the centrepiece of Terence Davies' devastating Liverpool-set Trilogy focuses on his fictional alter-ego in middle age.
Drama198326 minsDirector: Terence Davies
The Terence Davies Trilogy reaches its astonishing climax as tortured Liverpool clerk Robert Tucker prepares to meet his maker.
Drama197646 minsDirector: Terence Davies
The first part of Terence Davies' formidable Trilogy explores the effects of violence on a Liverpool schoolboy, told in a series of flashbacks.
Drama1991105 minsDirector: Isaac Julien
The Queen's Silver Jubilee beats to the sounds of Funkadelic, Sylvester and the O'Jays in Isaac Julien’s feature debut.
Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis BaconLove 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.
Drama199814 minsDirector: Fraser Macdonald
A man with a history of gay-bashing enters a smoky bar and strikes up a conversation with a drag queen in this dark short.
Comedy198524 minsDirector: Ron Peck
Ron Peck tests the thin line between pornography and art with his amusing rumination on the difficulties of showing the naked male form.
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.
Documentary201892 minsDirector: Jason Barker
This extraordinarily intimate documentary from Jason Barker tells the inspiring tale of a very different kind of pregnancy.
Historical drama197685 minsDirector: Derek Jarman
A distinctly bold and sensual reclaiming of gay history, Jarman here tells the sexually intense story of the 4th-century martyr.
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.
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.