• Lesbian love story, Carol, tops the BFI Flare poll
  • Films spanning over 80 years make the top 30


    To mark the 30th anniversary of BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival the BFI today announces the Top 30 LGBT Films of All Time in its first major critical survey of LGBT films. Todd Haynes’ award-winning Carol topped the poll, closely followed by Andrew Haigh’s Weekend, and Hong Kong romantic drama Happy Together directed by Wong Kar-wai in third place. The results are published in full online at http://www.bfi.org.uk/best-lgbt-films

    BFI Flare is supported by principal sponsor Accenture and 2016 marks ten years of this fruitful association.

    Over 100 film experts including filmmakers, critics, writers and programmers such as Joanna Hogg, Mark Cousins, Peter Strickland, Richard Dyer, Nick James and Laura Mulvey, as well as past and present BFI Flare programmers, have voted the Top 30 LGBT Films of All Time. The poll’s results represent 84 years of cinema and 12 countries, from Thailand and Japan to Sweden and Spain.

    Carol’s director, Todd Haynes said “The Festival has long supported my work, from Poison and Dottie Gets Spanked in the early 1990s through to Carol which is screening on 35mm later this week in BFI Flare’s Best of Year programme. I’m so proud to have Carol voted as the top LGBT film of all time in this poll launched for the Fest’s 30th edition. Carol is in illustrious company with so many films I love, from Brokeback Mountain and Un Chant d’ Amour to Happy Together and My Own Private Idaho.

    Tricia Tuttle, Deputy Head of Festivals, BFI said “The BFI Flare team are delighted with the results. Here are 30 films we love and so many we have screened in the Festival. Carol’s win excites us because it’s great to see a film about two women in love enjoy such prominence, particularly given cinema’s relative lack of lesbian content, and it’s such an extraordinarily fine film which has had near universal praise from critics and curators. To see Carol enshrined in this way so soon after release is a testament to how beloved it is and how esteemed Todd Haynes is as a filmmaker.  We also love to see British cinema so heavily celebrated, from Andrew Haigh’s Weekend at number 2 to My Beautiful Launderette, Orlando, Looking for Langston, Victim and Beautiful Things, all making the Top 20.

    In 2015 Carol had its UK premiere at BFI London Film Festival as the American Express Gala, when lead actor Cate Blanchett was awarded a BFI Fellowship. Carol was recognised throughout the 2016 award season, being nominated for six Oscars, nine BAFTAs and has won Best Film with five other top prizes at the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association awards. It premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Queer Palm and Rooney Mara won Best Actress. Carol returns to the big screen at this year’s BFI Flare at a special screening of a 35mm print celebrating the best films from the past year, along with Tangerine which placed 11th in the poll.

    The poll’s results represent films from a diverse range of nationalities, identities and sexualities across eight decades. Female directors are represented by ten films across the poll dating back to Leontine Sagan’s Mädchen in Uniform (1931), a German production co-directed with Carl Froelich and placed in joint 14th position alongside Show Me Love and Orlando also directed by female filmmaker Sally Potter. The results also reflect a variety of global stories, from a weekend in Nottingham with Andrew Haigh’s acclaimed British feature Weekend placing second to Happy Together in third place in which a couple from Hong Kong visit Argentina.

    The results also demonstrate BFI Flare’s ongoing relationship with returning directors, for example both Todd Haynes and Andrew Haigh screened films early in their career at BFI Flare. In 1990 the festival showed Haynes’ Poison and in 2009 Haigh’s debut Greek Pete was given its world premiere.

    To explore the full results and voters of the Top 30 LGBT Films of All Time poll visit http://www.bfi.org.uk/best-lgbt-films-votes, the top 30 have been listed below:

    1. Carol (Todd Hayes, USA 2015)
    2. Weekend (Andrew Haigh, UK 2011)
    3. Happy Together (Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong / Japan / South Korea 1997)
    4. Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, USA / Canada 2005)
    5. Paris Is Burning (Jennie Livingston, USA 1990)
    6. Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand / France / Germany / Italy 2004)
    7. My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears, UK 1985)
    8. All About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain / France 1999)
    9. Un Chant d’Amour (Jean Genet, France 1950)
    10. My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant, USA 1991)

    11=. Tangerine (Sean Baker, USA 2015)
    11=. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Germany 1972)
    11=. Blue Is the Warmest Colour (Abdellatif Kechiche, France / Belgium / Spain 2013)
    14=. Mädchen in Uniform (Leontine Sagan & Carl Froelich, Germany 1931)
    14=. Show Me Love (Lukas Moodysson, Sweden / Denmark 1998)
    14=. Orlando (Sally Potter, UK / Russia / Italy / France / Netherlands 1992)
    17. Victim (Basil Dearden, UK 1961)
    18. Je, tu, il, elle (Chantal Akerman, France / Belgium 1974)
    19. Looking for Langston (Isaac Julien, UK 1989)
    20=. Beau Travail (Claire Denis, France 1999)
    20=. Beautiful Thing (Hettie Macdonald, UK 1996)

    22=. Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie, France 2013)
    22=. Theorem (Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italy 1968)
    22=. The Watermelon Woman (Cheryl Dunye, USA 1996)
    22=. Pariah (Dee Rees, USA 2011)
    22=. Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, France / USA 2001)
    27=. Portrait of Jason (Shirley Clarke, USA 1967)
    27=. Dog Day Afternoon (Sidney Lumet, USA 1975)
    27=. Death in Venice (Luchino Visconti, Italy / France 1971)
    27=. Pink Narcissus (James Bidgood, USA 1971)
    27=. Sunday Bloody Sunday (John Schlesinger, UK 1971)
    27=. Tomboy (Céline Sciamma, France 2011)
    27=. Funeral Parade of Roses (Toshio Matsumoto, Japan 1969)

    For more information about BFI Flare:

    BFI Flare is the UK’s longest running LGBT film event. It began in 1986 as Gay’s Own Pictures. By its 3rd edition it was tagged the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and since then has grown to become the largest LGBT film event in the UK, and its most anticipated. The Festival changed its name to BFI Flare was 2014 to reflect the increasing diversity of the audience and its programme. Last year’s festival saw admissions of over 23,000. The festival is programmed by Jason Barker, Jay Bernard, Michael Blyth, Brian Robinson and Emma Smart, led by Deputy Head of Festivals, Tricia Tuttle and Head of Festivals, Clare Stewart.

    The full programme of BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival will include 50 feature films, an expanded industry programme, selected films on BFI Player VOD service, a series of special events and archive screenings. fiveFilms4freedom will see Flare offer five LGBT short films for free across the world and promoted through the British Council’s global networks.  The full programme will be available on  Thursday 18th February 2016. The festival runs 16th March – 27th March 2016. www.bfi.org.uk/Flare