The 2008 London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival


It’s that time of year again.

Now celebrating its 22nd birthday, the London Lesbian and

Gay Film Festival

will screen at the British Film Institute on London’s South Bank from

March 27 to April 10, offering queer-themed

shorts, documentaries, and feature films from around the world.

The Chinese Botanist’s Daughter

You can view a complete list

of the films on offer here. Among the ones reviewed or mentioned

by are the romantic tragedy The Chinese Botanist’s


(pictured above), the American

TV pilot Don’t Go featuring Guinevere Turner,

and the Oscar-winning short documentary Freeheld, about the fight of dying lesbian

policewoman Laurel Hester to see her pension go to her partner Stacie


There’s also the Taiwanese

romance Spider Lilies, the German drama Vivere, the French coming-of-age film Water Lilies,

and the South African period romance The World Unseen.

The World Unseen

There’s the 1996 American documentary It’s

Elementary — Talking About Gay Issues in School
, and its 2007

follow-up, It’s STILL

Elementary — The Movie and the Movement.

And there’s the HBO film Life Support, starring Queen Latifah

as an HIV-positive charity worker (although unfortunately her character

isn’t a lesbian).

A program titled “The Face of Another:

Imagining Lesbian Desire

offers a chance to see Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring

fall in love in Mulholland Dr. It also includes films that explore

female relationships but are not so overtly lesbian-themed, like Ingmar

Bergman’s Persona and the MadonnaRosanna Arquette

flick Desperately Seeking Susan.

Two of my favorite crushes

are featured in the festival: one being Atonement actress

Romola Garai
, who stars in the François Ozon film Angel.

Sadly, the film seems to have been included in the festival because Ozon

is openly gay and because it has a camp sensibility, rather than because

Garai herself has any lesbian encounters in the movie — although evidently

she does get a massage from co-star Lucy Russell:

Meanwhile, the beautiful French

actress Ludivine Sagnier (pictured below left) plays bisexual

in Les Chansons D’Amour (Love Songs), a musical about a threesome between

a man and two women that becomes complicated when the man finds himself

drawn towards another man. You can view a trailer for the film here.

There’s also a chance to

see Cate Blanchett in her acclaimed gender-bending turn as Bob

Dylan in I’m Not There.

Although some films may already

be listed as fully booked, be aware that it’s always worth calling

the box office to see if they’ve had any returns. And while you’re

at the BFI, why not stop by their Mediatheque and watch a selection of archive British

lesbian films for free?

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