BFI Flare 2017

BFI Flare 2017 explodes like a glitter cannon across London’s Southbank next week. Loverboy’s resident movie maniac, Corinna Tomrley, gives us some of the highlights she’s most excited about.

So, it is happening again. Our annual takeover of the BFI, a queer paradise full of film, fun and festivities. This year sees the usual excellent programme of cinema from across the world covering the whole span of our lives, experiences and fantasies. What tickles this reporter’s fancy is the thread celebrating our cinematic past, in particular, our super camp past.

For the Imax will be full of sequins, disco, sing-a-longs, space goddesses and NO WIRE HANGERS EVER as Flare presents such classics as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Barbarella, Mommie Dearest and – be still my gay heart – Can’t Stop The Music.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a sing-a-long edition. I have been training for this my entire life. As a kid I had countless LPs of Marilyn Monroe songs (some exquisite picture discs) and learned her numbers backwards and forwards. I often knew them before I’d even seen the movies they were from. I can give you every line, word, breath of every song from GPB. And do both her and Jane Russell’s parts.

Russell’s number Ain’t There Anyone Here For Love is perhaps the campest moment in cinema history. I say that knowing the competition it has. I stand by it. Even if some of that competition comes from another of Flare’s offerings…

Can’t Stop The Music is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. We all know what that means. It’s one of the best films of all time. And for me, it has another very special significance – it was the first film I ever saw in the cinema. No wonder I turned out so queer and fabulous. Between the ubergayness of the Village People themselves we have Steve Guttenberg and pre-transition Caitlyn Jenner in short shorts and – a formative moment for this writer – Valerie Perrine as the sole woman cavorting with a whole cast of (gay) boys in the YMCA. Her flash of boob… well it is still burnt onto my retina. Sigh. All of that and some of the best disco numbers in our history. Including the filthiest of all – Milkshake. This on the huge IMAX screen? We are being fully spoilt. But we deserve nothing less.

Check out Flare’s online programme to see all the delicious filmy fruits they have to offer for the 11 days of the festival. Loverboy will see you in the IMAX and see you in the bar. We’ll be the one covered head to toe in pizzazz… Our’s is a martini, extra dirty.

BFI Flare runs from 16-26 March