5 Films for Freedom 2017 – Review

On the British Council Arts’ Youtube page you can now watch five LGBT short films which have been selected for their LGBT London Film Festival, which is going on now (last day tomorrow). However you can watch the short films online without having to go to the festival.

In terms of representation, these films deal with gay males (3 films), attraction between young females (1 film), and transitioning to a male at an older age, with a bisexual daughter (1 film). Some of the films are fictional, such as the one that looks at homosexuality and boxing (Heavy Weight), and first dates (Crush and Jamie). However there are two which shine a light on real lives. Still Burning follows a gay Guadaloupian in Paris and his involvement in the ‘Vogue’ dancing culture (imagine fierce fem break dancing). Where We Are Now shows the relationship between a trans mother and her adult daughter, they talk about how their relationship was when they were younger, and how it is now.

All of the films have their merit in that they manage to crystallise a thought or idea and transmit it to the audience. I think my favourite was Jamie, since I was most able to relate to the panic of a first date, and the turmoil of emotions that come with it. However, I also enjoyed Heavy Weight for its willingness to engage with homosexuality and masculinity in boxing. Crush is a cute almost wordless film, which I couldn’t really relate to, but could see that it was well done and would be relatable for its demographic. Where We Are Now was also a solid treatment of transitioning without getting hysterical or overly dramatic. I think the part I liked most about it was how normal it was for those on the screen, and it felt normal me. Still Burning piqued my interest because I have lived in the French Antilles and know something about the homophobia that is still quite strong there. So to see a confident and fierce man who was able to escape that life, and find his passion in Paris was  great to see. Also that fact that he brought his younger brother along for the ride was excellent.

All in all its a good collection of films. They’re thought provoking and well put together. There are a lot of LGBT short films (particularly gay male ones) out there, some that are great, and some that are not. It’s good to see a collection of short LGBT films all in one place. I recommend watching all of them.


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