Screening Film


Growing up gay in the 1980s

This week’s picks are by Phoenix Fry, the film programmer behind Deptford Film Club, Nollywood Now, Design on Film and Mondo Pop. He loves popular world cinema, concert movies and 1980s British film.



26/02/2015 – 07:30 pm
The Cinema Museum – 2 Dugard Way (off Renfrew Road) London SE11 4TH

Let’s start the week at London’s much-loved Cinema Museum. From the ins and outs of closeted movie stars to the pioneering achievements of gay showbiz heroes, Terry Sanderson – author of ‘How to be a Happy Homosexual’ – presents a history of queer performers.

I’m expecting to see loads of great film clips (please let there be Larry Grayson) and get the gossip on Marlene Dietrich, Rock Hudson and Irene Handl. See you there.



27/02/2015 – 07:30 pm
Commerce House – Bridgeman Place, Bolton, BL2 1DW

Let’s keep the gay vibe going with ‘Prick Up Your Ears’, the 1987 film of the spectacular life and violent death of British playwright Joe Orton.

I first watched this on TV as a teenager, and found it thrillingly filthy. And who wouldn’t? I can barely recall Alan Bennett’s nifty script about theatre, bedsits and library books, but I vividly remember the scenes of cottaging, cruising and murder. Lucky Boltonians get to rediscover a lost 80s classic on Friday.



27/02/2015 – 06:30 pm
Derby QUAD – Market Place, Cathedral Quarter, Derby, DE1 3AS

These days it’s de rigeur for cinemas to rediscover the 1980s, and treat their audiences to nostalgic screenings of Ferris Bueller and Back to the Future. But has Derby Quad gone too far by screening Teen Wolf? Sure, Michael J Fox is perkily watchable, but goodness me this film is best left in the past. Endless basketball matches? Check. Missed opportunities to use the werewolf theme as an interesting or amusing comment on puberty? Absolutely. Jaw-droppingly homophobic ‘coming out’ scene. Uh-huh. Proceed with caution, guys.



28/02/2015 – 11:00 am
Rheged, Redhills, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0DQ

Six directors (including Robert Redford, Michael Glawogger and Wim Wenders) create six short film essays on six iconic buildings – the Berlin Philharmonic, the National Library of Russia, Norway’s Halden Prison, the Salk Institute of California, Oslo Opera House and Paris’s Pompidou Centre. I narrowly missed out on screening this portmanteau film for last year’s ‘Design on Film’ programme at the V&A, so it gets a big thumbs up from me.

This screening is part of the magnificent Keswick Film Festival, which this year has film strands celebrating Dogme 95, bicycles and (dis)ability.



01/03/2015 – 07:30 pm
Kazimier Garden – 30-32 Seel Street Liverpool L1 4JJ

When I was growing up, Laurie Anderson was the epitome of cool. She used cutting-edge technology to make instruments that made ‘difficult music’. She wore trouser suits, spiked her hair and referenced William Burroughs. Basically I wanted to be Laurie.

Watch this concert documentary (screened on Laserdisc!) for its thoroughly 80s vision on avant garde pop, digital projection and Warholian performance poetry. And then reinvent yourself for 2015.

Phoenix Fry grew up gay in the 1980s. He survived and is now a film programmer & project manager for film clubs, event commissions and festivals (including BFI’s UK-wide season ‘Sci-Fi Days of Fear & Wonder’). He also lectures at University of the Arts London and Goldsmiths, University of London.

Enjoy writing about film? Would you like to choose your top 5 for the week ahead? Get in touch.

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