This year’s BFI London LGBTQIA+ is running until the 24 March at the BFI Southbank and on BFI Player. It is celebrating queer cinema across the globe and with special emphasis on Greece, where three features are being showcased plus a panel discussion under the title SPOTLIGHT ON GREECE.


This exceptional documentary is a labour of love for Greek filmmaker Tzeli Hadjidimitriou, who describes herself as “a double lesbian”, a lesbian woman who was born and bred on the beautiful island of Lesbos, which is also known as Mytilene. It is a personal story for Tzeli, who also narrates the film – “When I was young, I thought Lesvia was a female name.” But while growing up on the island, she personally witnessed the massive arrival of lesbians from around the world to the small village of Eresos, the birthplace of the great ancient Greek lyric poet Sappho. At first, the arrival of these woman is warmly welcomed by the local community, but once the Sapphic lovers begin to swim naked and kiss in public places, old homophobic prejudices begin to rise amongst the locals.
Many women talk openly about their experiences on the island, especially during the seventies, and share their thoughts about the big significance of a pilgrimage to Eresos for many Sapphic lovers. Tzeli also examines the changes through the decades not only amongst the plethora of tourists but also regarding the views of the locals, who eventually begin to not only accept and benefit from these travellers, but also share a sense of pride for their heritage. A wonderful celebration of a special community in a unique place on earth!


New York based Greek writer/director Apollo Bakopoulos makes an assured feature film debut. He follows the story of two male dancers who form an unexpected bond after they are paired for a new dance performance in Greece. Aeneas (Panos Malakos) is a real loner – a dedicated artist to his craft whose only purpose in life is to succeed as a dancer. Meanwhile Greek American Alex (Dimitris Fritzelas) is over the moon when he is asked to travel to his homeland and take part in a Greek Dance Company. He leaves his girlfriend (Mantalena Papadatou) behind with a promise to be back as soon as when the show is over…
It is a sensitive, sensual film which celebrates dance as well as pure uncomplicated attraction. Malakos and Fritzelas share a lovely chemistry not only as a powerful duo on the dance floor, but also during their stay at their beautiful apartment near Sounion overlooking the Aegean Sea.
The story may be predictable at times but it is the exciting journey of discovery that the two protagonists embark on that makes this such a lovely, gentle film.


Zacharias Mavroeidis’ enjoyable and sexually explicit comedy sets up the tone most deliciously from its very first sequence. It opens on a Greek gay nudist beach, where two platonic friends discuss the possibilities of writing and directing a feature film. Nikitas (Andreas Lampropoulos) is desperate to get the project off the ground and make his directorial debut, while Demosthenes (Yorgos Tsiantoulas) offers some ideas for the screenplay inspired from events based on his past relationship with Panos, especially during the previous summer when things looked bright, before their current break up. They are also debating heavily whether they should include the arrival of Carmen into their storyline or not…
It is such a fun premise and is directed with such gusto by Mavroeidis, that its charm is irresistible. The screenplay is well developed and its two protagonists deliver attractive performances. All the ingredients are here for a super fun evening!

Also out this week:


I first saw Pablo Berger’s adorable animated feature at last year’s London Film Festival and now on a second viewing, I still believe that it is the Best Animated Feature of the Year. Berger previously received international acclaim for BLANCANIEVES, his imaginative tale on Snow White, which he made in 2012. His delightful new film tells the story of Dog, a lonely, sad creature living all alone in his Manhattan studio apartment. He spends most of his time watching television until he decides to buy a Robot. He soon becomes inseparable with his new friend but sadly one day they are separated on the beach. It is a sad loss for both of them, who try to do everything in the power to be reunited…
This celebration of friendship succeeds in every department and without the need of any dialogue – not a single word is uttered as a matter of fact. A real joy for children and adults of all ages!


The winning partnership between Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor – the dynamic writing and directing duo of HELEN and ROSE PLAYS JULIE – continues with another fascinating piece of filmmaking. They tell the true story of Rose Dugdale (Imogen Poots), a British heiress, whose anti-establishment views led her to orchestrate one of the biggest art heists in history. The time is the seventies and Rose, who despises her privileged background, is politicized during university and feels strongly the injustice caused by the British government. She joins the IRA straight after university and soon after, she leads an armed raid on an Irish estate along with three comrades…
Poots delivers a career best performance as the fearless woman, whose master plan to steal 19 old master paintings accidentally turns violent. It is a compelling story even more so for being all true. The action unfolds very persuasively and at times it feels as if it is a drama documentary. It was one of the highlights from last year’s London Film Festival and it is now worth catching in cinemas.

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