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LGBT Britain

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.

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MauriceMaurice

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.

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Are You Proud?Are You Proud?

Documentary201896 minsDirector: Ashley Joiner

Celebratory yet reflective documentary charting the LGBTQ+ movement's momentous journey towards equality.

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NighthawksNighthawks

Drama1978113 minsDirector: Ron Peck

A schoolteacher juggles everyday life with nights spent cruising for Mr Right in this fascinating landmark in British gay cinema.

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Dressed as a GirlDressed 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.

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Nighthawks 2: Strip Jack NakedNighthawks 2: Strip Jack Naked

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.

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RosebudRosebud

Drama199114 minsDirector: Cheryl Farthing

A lesbian couple arouse the interest of their new neighbour in this erotic tale of voyeurism, power dressing and fantasy.

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Madonna and ChildMadonna and Child

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.

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Death and TransfigurationDeath and Transfiguration

Drama198326 minsDirector: Terence Davies

The Terence Davies Trilogy reaches its astonishing climax as tortured Liverpool clerk Robert Tucker prepares to meet his maker.

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ChildrenChildren

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.

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WeekendWeekend

Drama201197 minsDirector: Andrew Haigh

Andrew Haigh's internationally acclaimed tale of a brief encounter between two gay men.

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Young Soul RebelsYoung Soul Rebels

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.

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ChemsexChemsex

Documentary201580 minsDirector: William Fairman

A hard-hitting and often graphic documentary about the 'chemsex' sub-scene in London’s gay community.

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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.

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The Lay of the LandThe Lay of the Land

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.

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What Can I Do with a Male Nude?What Can I Do with a Male Nude?

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.

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Caught LookingCaught Looking

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.

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RelaxRelax

Drama199122 minsDirector: Christopher Newby

A gay man awaits the results of an HIV test, drifting into moments of fantasy as he copes with his fears and memories.

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A Deal With The UniverseA Deal With The Universe

Documentary201892 minsDirector: Jason Barker

This extraordinarily intimate documentary from Jason Barker tells the inspiring tale of a very different kind of pregnancy.

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SebastianeSebastiane

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.

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CaravaggioCaravaggio

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.

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WittgensteinWittgenstein

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.

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