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UK, English, 70 mins

  • Director: Daisy Asquith

CGiii Comment

Oh dear...

This film opened Sheffield Doc Fest to celebrate the [partial] decriminalisation of homosexuality...it's neither a documentary nor is it a celebration!

What it is...is a haphazard and [ridiculously] repetitive coagulation of film clips...manipulated - in places - to 'go' with the music...and, punctuated with antiquated opinion and miserable - mostly anonymous - testimony.

There's no logic to the timeline whatsoever...it's all over the place...but, what jars the most is...Daisy Asquith thought it prudent to give Quentin Crisp a voice...this Margaret Thatcher-esque, embittered, misogynistic, homophobe...who declared AIDS to be a fad, who prompted mothers-to-be to abort gay babies, who dismissed the fight for equality...and yet here he is...in this so-called celebration.

A few 'films' feature [too] heavily...Richard Kwietniowski's underwhelming short film Flames of Passion...and, Jeanette Winterson's under-produced-and-horribly-dated Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit...add to the mix a few obligatory 'Derek Jarmans' and - of course - Sally Potter's Orlando...the only decent film she's made, thanks to the wardrobe and make-up departments! Oh...and there's Young Soul Rebels, that masterclass in bad acting/writing/directing. Far better and more important films are reduced to...blink and you'll miss them...

You could be forgiven into thinking that this is less 'film' and more 'visual album' featuring the [wavering] songs of the American, John Grant...with support from [British] Goldfrapp and [American] Hercules & Love Affair...since this is supposed to be a 'celebration' of LGBT Britain over the years...couldn't Ms Asquith find more British recording artists? There is no sense of relevance to the music and since it plays such an important part in this 'film' - it's incongruity is almost as jarring as Herr Crisp's scarily-haired appearances...

There's little joy to be had in this predictable and uninspired trek through the BFI's archives. Rather than this being a cause to celebrate...it's a cause for concern, £230,000 [estimated] of public funds frittered away...money that could have been better spent elsewhere on more worthwhile causes...home-grown LGBT youth film and music initiatives...for instance!

Jarring...simply, jarring!


Queerama - Trailer from Syndicado on Vimeo.

The(ir) Blurb...

50 years after decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, director Daisy Asquith mines the jewels of the BFI archive to take us into the relationships, desires, fears and expressions of gay men and women in the 20th century.

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