London lesbian and gay film festival

Friday marks the start of the BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, reliably one of the stronger of London’s many film festivals.

The significance of the Festival is that it exists both as a celebration of a community, as well as a cultural entity in its own right. There’s an unfortunate tendency to ghettoise queer filmmaking, and the Festival’s value derives from the range of work it shows not just to a LGBT community, but to a wider audience as well.

Highlights this year include special screenings of classics such as When Night is Falling and Mysterious Skin, to celebrate the Festival’s 25th anniversary; Resist Psychic Death, a lecture on “DIY cultural production for queer community building”; a discussion on feminist pornography, and novelist Sarah Waters in conversation. An adaptation of her excellent book The Night Watch is also being previewed.

The Festival’s gala opening film is Kaboom, written and directed by Gregg Araki. Its the story of a libidinous college student who somehow finds the time to uncover a conspiracy between his endless couplings. As a film Kaboom is profoundly stupid, but it’s difficult not to be charmed by it. It’s hard to hate a film that’s enjoying itself so much. The whole thing is effortlessly subversive and its lack of shame is gleeful.

Look out for our interview with Gregg Araki when the film is released nationwide in June. For now, more information is on the festivals website.