If you belong to a minority group, the world continues to be a confusing and strange place. The politics of the day have isolated and oppressed large groups of people and society seems to be increasingly veering towards being opposed to difference of any kind. Annual observances like Black History Month and LGBT History Month are vital now more than ever as a reminder of the importance of the lives and experiences of individuals that have been victimised in the past and are continually victimised in the present.
Celebrated in the UK in February, LGBT History Month offers the opportunity to recognise the culture and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people, providing a chance for learning and discussion. The various events organised aim to promote equality and diversity while raising awareness for issues that affect LGBT communities on a daily basis.
As the Glasgow Film Festival coincides with LGBT History Month, we've chosen seven films we think you should see that are significant for their incorporation of LGBT themes, history and culture.
The opening gala screening of Handsome Devil will not be the only opportunity to catch John Butler's coming-of-age drama as the film will also be screened tomorrow afternoon for those that miss it the first time around. The film follows 16-year old Ned who is teased and bullied by his classmates with homophobic remarks due to his ambiguous sexuality. Everything changes though when new roommate Conor arrives, who shares mutual interests with Ned despite being a rugby star. As well as being funny and moving, Handsome Devil tackles LGBT issues, exploring the challenges and difficulties of being an outsider. Glasgow Film Theatre, Wed 15 & Thu 16 Feb.
Cult filmmaker John Waters' second feature film has frequently been described as grotesque for its many explicit and outrageous moments. And such a description is probably fair what with all the murder, robbery and surreal sex scenes that make up the plot. Starring members of Waters' regular cast, the Dreamlanders, legendary drag queen Divine takes centre stage as the deranged owner of the travelling free show The Cavalcade of Perversion. The film's shoestring, low-budget cinematography adds to its outlandish storyline, which is made all the more shocking by some rather blasphemous and climactic scenes. First released in 1970, the screening at the GFF will be the first time that the restored, uncut version of the film is seen in the UK. Glasgow Film Theatre, Thu 16 Feb.
Below Her Mouth
Director April Mullen's audacious drama tells the story of an illicit relationship between two women, one of which is a formerly faithful fiancée. Jasmine and Dallas engage in a passionate love affair while Jasmine's fiancée Rile is away on business, forcing her to question her sexual identity and the truth of her relationship with her partner. Mullen's use of an all-female cast and crew for Below Her Mouth is purposeful, providing a fresh and disparate interpretation of the classic lesbian love story. Glasgow Film Theatre, Sat 18 & Sun 19 Feb.
I Am Not Your Negro
James Baldwin was a fierce social critic and defender of Civil Rights but for many, he was also a gay icon whose writing confronted the causes of racism as well as homophobia. In 1969, when asked about whether he thought homosexuality was a disease, he replied 'If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it says about homosexuality.' Director Raoul Peck has taken the unfinished manuscript of Baldwin's final book, Remember This House, and created a film that uses photographs, archive footage and news clippings alongside Baldwin's own writing to show life through his eyes. The balance between Samuel L Jackson's narration and the various images used by Peck give prominence to Baldwin's excellent writing. Glasgow Film Theatre, Wed 22 Feb.
Small Town Rage: Fighting Back in the Deep South
In the 1980s, the AIDS pandemic affected countless communities in the United States. It is rare through to hear of how AIDS was perceived and understood in the conservative Deep South, where the disease was seen as a problem that only affected big cities. Small Town Rage tells the story of the ACT UP coalition in Shreveport, Louisiana whose protest tactics and actions attempted to draw attention to those that were living with the disease and in the process, change the way that people reacted to the crisis. The documentary uses emotional interviews and archive footage to tell the important story of the individuals that fought for fair treatment for themselves, for loved ones and for the public at large. CCA, Thu 23 Feb.
A gritty portrayal of gang violence and discrimination, Check It is the story of a group of gay and transgender African-American youths in Washington DC who decide to form their own gang to defend themselves against hate crimes. Some of the members may be feminine and flamboyant but they also carry knives and brass knuckles for protection. Toby Oppenheimer and Dana Flor's compelling documentary explores the group's motivations and struggles, showing how they have turned the tables on those that abuse and persecute them, with the aim of eventually escaping the violence and poverty of their childhoods. CCA, Fri 24 Feb.
Remembering the Man
The dramatisation of Timothy Conigrave's memoir Holding the Man is the heart-wrenching tale of the writer and activist's love for his high school sweetheart John Caleo at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Australia. Remembering the Man is the documentary version of the film which explores Tim and John's 16 -year romance with Tim himself as the narrator, thanks to an audio interview that took place before his death in 1994. Using the memories of friends and loved ones, the film follows the couple's relationship and the events that led to their deaths as a result of the virus, while also highlighting the anti-gay feeling prevalent in Australia in the 80s and 90s. CCA, Fri 24 & Sat 25 Feb.
Cast: Fionn O'Shea, Nicholas Galitzine, Andrew Scott
Ned (O’Shea) is a young misfit in an authoritarian boarding school, forced to share a room with good-looking, charismatic Conor (Galitzine), but who finds guidance from unconventional teacher Dan Sherry (Scott). Scott gives a lively performance and O’Shea and Galitzine are impressive, but the details are unpersuasive and…
Documentary examining race relations in America, based on James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript Remember This House, which is told through the stories of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Dr Martin Luther King. Director Raoul Peck makes use of Baldwin's writing over archive footage, news clippings and vintage photographs…
Cast: George Banders, Reece Manning, Richard Bligh
UK release: 14 April 2016
The heartbreaking real-life story of two high school sweethearts who must navigate life in Australia in the 80s and 90s at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Dramatising Timonthy Conigrave's memoir of his relationship with John Caleo, the film explores the events that led to the couple's death at the hands of the virus.
Written, directed and shot entirely with an all female production crew, Below Her Mouth is the story of two women, Jasmine and Dallas, who unexpectedly begin a passionate love affair. Jasmine is then forced to confront the profound truth with her fiancé Rile.