We are delighted to support the British LGBT film focus at GAZE as part of its 25th year celebrations. Our own arts programming in Ireland celebrates diversity and facilitates debate in human rights, and we hope that through festivals such as GAZE, we can continue to provide a positive and insightful lens on equality, diversity and inclusion today.
Between 4–7 August, we urge you to seek out these important British films which are varied in their eras, forms and storytelling. Don't delay in booking!
Friday 4 August:
The Dark Mile (8.30pm)
The Dark Mile is a psychological thriller exploring the strong but fraught relationship between very different yet sympathetic female characters, attempting to reestablish a connection in the wake of grief. When London couple Louise and Clare book a boat trip to recover from personal tragedy - their trip of a lifetime through the Scottish Highlands soon descends into a hellish ordeal as they delve further into the wilds. They’re confronted by layer upon layer of jeopardy from a variety of sources, but neither our heroes nor the audience can tell which threat will ultimately prove decisive. With many twists along the way - we’re kept guessing until the very end. Combining character driven storytelling with more conventional genre set pieces against the powerfully cinematic Highland backdrop, the film is an intense and gripping original work, with a strong nod to cinematic masterpieces Deliverance and Rosemary’s Baby. Purchase tickets here.
The Crying Game (10.30pm)
Twenty five years since the release of Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game, GAZE presents a special screening of the film, which shares it’s silver anniversary with our festival. As the breadth of queer cinema in Ireland has flourished in the last few years, it’s important to skew the lens to look at the Irish film canon in a queer context. The film tells the story of an IRA members search for redemption in the wake of a British soldier’s death. However, nothing is as it seems in this quiet film about relationships across seemingly impassible divides, including the film's reputation that the twist is as important as the human drama unfolding before the viewer's eyes. Neil Jordan is one of the few, and certainly one of the first, Irish director’s to tackle queer representation in his films, even in a covert manner. He continued this trend in a more substantive manner with Breakfast on Pluto, but undoubtedly this film stands as one of the first portayals of LGBT characters in Irish film. Purchase tickets here.
Saturday 5 August:
The Book of Gabrielle (6.30pm)
The Book of Gabrielle is a clever, voluble dramedy that covers new narrative territory in its exploration of the intimate, yet platonic, relationship that develops between a female graphic artist and an older male erotic novelist, which changes both her internal psyche and her perspective on the external world. Despite their age difference and the fact that Gabrielle is lesbian while Saul is straight, the two click when they meet at a book signing. They have a few things in common, namely their secular Judaism and obsession with sex. But it is their differences that they find fascinating. Saul delights in Gabrielle’s description of her past affairs and her on-going relationship with her younger girlfriend, and as their relationship unfolds, Saul helps Gabrielle find her artistic voice. But does she need to break from his patriarchy to find herself? The Book of Gabrielle answers that query with style, wit and a measure of erotic heat. Purchase tickets here.
Sunday 6 August:
Against the Law (6.30pm)
2017 sees the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalised homosexual acts in England and Wales between adult males, in private. While it would take several decades before homosexuals achieved full equality, this legislation marks the beginning of this journey. Against the Law is a powerful factual drama about Peter Wildeblood, the thoughtful and private gay journalist whose lover, under pressure from the authorities, turned Queen’s evidence against him in one of the most explosive court cases of the 1950s - the infamous Montagu Trial. He was sentenced to prison a broken man, but emerged a year later determined to change these draconian laws against homosexuality. Woven through this powerful drama is testimony from a chorus of men who lived through those dark days, and these accounts help to immerse us in the reality of a dark chapter in the recent past, a past still within the reach of living memory. Purchase tickets here.
Queerama is a film created from the treasure trove of BFI archive. The story traverses a century of gay experiences, encompassing persecution and prosecution, love and desire, identity, forbidden encounters, sexual liberation and pride. The soundtrack weaves the lyrics and music of John Grant, Goldfrapp and Hercules & Love Affair and guides us intimately into the relationships, desires, fears and expressions of gay men and women in the 20th century - a century of incredible change. From the first gay relationship on film released in 1919, Different From the Others, Queerama offers a wealth of unknown newsreel and amateur film from the 20’s and 30’s, the sub textual references in 40’s cinema, the arrests and prosecutions of the 50’s, the early gay rights marches of the 60’s and 70’s, the Pride movement and AIDS crisis in the 80’s and 90’s and the sexual liberation of the 00’s queer and transgender scene. Purchase tickets here.
Monday 7 August:
Iris Prize Shorts (3.30pm)
The Iris Prize, the world’s largest LGBT short film prize has so far been presented to 10 film makers from 6 countries. The Cardiff based festival also celebrates British film making talent, with a Pinewood Studios-sponsored £20,000 of sound post production as a prize for the Best British Short at the festival. This collection, curated from the Iris Prize ‘Best of British’ award winners, represents the diversity of film making talent in the UK - including documentary, historical drama and even time travelling fantasy. Private Life reminds us of the incredible length people went to find love in England of the 1950’s; My Mother is a brave documentary full of love made by a Welsh-based filmmaker from San Francisco; Middle Man takes us to Scotland and follows Dave on his first day at a call centre for the deaf; before we finish in 1980s England with Closets and a tormented 16-year old who travels through time. Purchase tickets here.
Young Soul Rebels (3.30pm)
London 1977. Pink socks. Check. Second hand Triumph car. Check. Black and working class. Check. Cool handshake. Check. Latest Donna Summer album. Check. The two DJs at the ‘Soul Patrol’ pirate radio station are all swaggering style and smooth cool. Caz fancies a brash commie punk boy, and his buddy Chris fancies a girl who is out of his league - will they find the right frequency to connect? Our heroes are in enough trouble already: harassed by the police, bullied by the local thugs, scrambling a living, Caz and Chris now also have to face a murderer on the loose who has handpicked a gay black ‘soul boy’. Critics Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the breakthrough role for the magnetic Sophie Okonedo, Young Soul Rebels has one of the grooviest soundtracks in history, and is a film with plenty of soul. Purchase tickets here.
God's Own Country (8.00pm)
To close our festival this year, GAZE is delighted to present a screening of one of the most talked about and critically praised LGBT film titles of 2017. God’s Own Country follows Johnny Saxby, as he works long hours on his family’s remote farm in the north of England, numbing the daily frustration of his lonely existence with casual sex and nightly binge-drinking at the local pub. When a handsome Romanian migrant worker arrives to take up temporary work on the family farm, Johnny suddenly finds himself having to deal with emotions he has never felt before. As they begin working closely together during lambing season, an intense relationship starts to form, which changes Johnny’s life forever. Captivating and broodingly beautiful, God’s Own Country is a thrillingly romantic story set in the heart of rural Yorkshire. Both poignant and moving, it is bracingly open-hearted, with a host of stunning standout performances, making it the must-see film of GAZE 2017. Purchase tickets here.
British Council Ireland is also delighted to support the Queer Film Network's bi-annual meeting at GAZE this year. Involving a range of esteeemed film programmers from the UK and Ireland, the organisation's goals are to share collective knowlege and encourage one another through peer support to develop and nurture queer film.