LGBTQ+ History Month: Ground-Breaking Moments in Lesbian Cinema
In anticipation of the release of Céline Sciamma’s stunning period romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which took home both the Queer Palm (the first film directed by a woman to do so) and Best Screenplay at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2019, we’re celebrating the female gaze with a season of films directed by women - about women that love other women.
Sciamma exploded onto the international film scene in 2007 with her breath-taking lesbian coming-of-age drama Water Lilies. Reflecting wider industry inequalities about who gets to tell what stories, it remains one of only a handful of films about lesbians that are directed by a woman. That’s not to say that men can’t ever direct films that feature lesbians - Todd Haynes’ Carol remains a firm favourite - but the industry is crying out for balance.
So this February we’re asking, what’s different when women get behind the camera, and tell their own stories?
Our season kicks off with Dykes, Camera, Action!, a bold and inspiring doc that takes a deep dive into the world of lesbian filmmakers and celebrates those that really broke the mould. Then we’ve got a special preview of the sumptuous, sensuous, Portrait of a Lady on Fire (on Valentine’s Day, no less!).
Later in the month we’re teaming up with Sheffield Doc/Fest to present a selection of short films from radical filmmaker extraordinaire, Barbara Hammer. And finally, we’ll be rounding things off with the soulful Hollywood love-story Desert Hearts, a landmark film that continues to subvert expectations by being a rare queer story defined by tender romance rather than persecution.