Beautiful Things

A landmark odyssey through LGBT life in Britain, with new additions to mark BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival and the 20th anniversary of Derek Jarman’s untimely death.

One of the Mediatheque’s most popular collections, Beautiful Things is an exploration of LGBT representation on British screens across the past century, with over 150 films and TV programmes for you to choose from.

Here, we showcase some of the titles added since its launch; ones that you might have missed first time around. Jarman fans can see the man himself interviewed in Paul Oremland’s fondly remembered documentary Andy the Furniture Maker (1986), and in conversation with Jeremy Isaacs less than a year before his death in a 1993 edition of Face to Face. See if you can spot his cameo appearance in the groundbreaking Nighthawks (1978), and discover the dream-like short Delphinium (2010), which looks back at the inspirations that shaped him. Jarman was an iconoclastic trailblazer for queer British culture, and an inspiration for many of the filmmakers whose work can be seen in ‘Beautiful Things’.

Ten to try

Love’s Presentation (1966)

A study of David Hockney’s etchings, inspired by the love poems of Constantine P. Cavafy.

Even Solomon (1979)

Andrew Taylor’s Play for Today offers a sensitive representation of a young transgender woman coming out.

Scrubbers (1982)

A young lesbian engineers her arrest to be nearer her borstal inmate lover. From the writer of Scum.

May We Borrow Your Husband? (1986)

Dirk Bogarde stars in his own adaptation of Graham Greene’s short story, as a writer drawn into the romantic entanglements of two couples at an Antibes hotel.

Khush (1991)

Pratibha Parmar’s celebration of South Asian lesbians and gay men living in Britain, North America and India.

Brookside (1994)

Soap’s first lesbian kiss.

This Life (1996)

Warren’s sexuality comes under scrutiny in this episode of the 90s legal drama series.

You Made Me Love You: Nathan Evans Films David Hoyle (2009)

Avant-garde performance artist David Hoyle muses on capitalism, gay rights and mental health in a series of six short films.

Delphinium: A Childhood Portrait of Derek Jarman (2010)

A lush and lyrical evocation of the artist as a schoolboy, which depicts his early devotion to gardening and the male form.

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (2010)

Maxine Peake stars as this real-life 19th century landowner and rediscovered feminist icon.

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