Europe’s largest South Asian film festival, the Bagri Foundation’s London Indian Film Festival opens in London today Thursday 20th June 2019 and runs at various cinemas in the capital until Saturday 29th June. The UK festival also runs in Birmingham (21st June – 1st July) and Manchester (26th- 29th June).
The 2019 LIFF offers a wealth of LGBTQ+ screenings including Roobha, Kattumaram, Unsaid, Bulbul Can Sing and a free shorts selection Too Desi Too Queer.
Roobha, 21/24 June. LIFF programme description: “Canadian Tamil Roobha is a stunning young trans-woman struggling to find her place after being ostracised by her family. One night while dancing in a redneck bar she has a chance encounter with Tamil bar owner and ‘straight’ married man, Anthony, (played by Jesuthasan Antonythasan of Dheepan fame). This leads to an intense love affair, but their blissful relationship is put to the test as Roobha is forced to deal with transgender stigma present in their community and Anthony’s familial affiliation and ailing health. Lenin M. Sivam’s latest film is beautifully realised and a unique romantic tale exploring the complexities of gender identities, romance and immigrant loneliness.”
Kattumaram (Catamaran), 21/29 June. LIFF programme description: “Part of an emerging queer cinema from South India Kattumaram tells of patriarch Singaram and his orphaned niece Anandhi, fisher-folk survivors of the Tsunami. Beautiful Anandhi teaches in the local school and has many fishermen interested in her, but Anandhi instead secretly falls for a new female supply teacher. As Singaram finds out and tries to come to terms with this revelation, gossip about the young women’s relationship quickly spreads. Singaram is left facing the choice of either defending his beloved niece and her partner, or giving sway to the demands of an angry community.”
Abyakto (Unsaid), 24/26 June. LIFF programme description: “Arjunn Dutta’s debut feature film is a touching story about the relationship between a mother and her son. Abyakto narrates the journey of Indra from childhood, through adolescence to adulthood through snippets from his past, as he is forced to revisit them when he returns to his hometown of Kolkota to take care of property matters a couple of years after his father’s death. The journey into Indra’s past reveal a strained and complex relationship with his mother that has gone on to shape him as a person in the present. Abyakto is a tender and poignant tale about love, regret, loneliness and the search for an identity.”
Bulbul Can Sing, 25/26 June. LIFF programme description: “Assamese director Rima Das returns to LIFF with this groundbreaking coming-of-age tale that has swept up prestigious awards at Berlin, Dublin, Singapore and Mumbai film festivals. Three teenage best friends in rural Assam, northeast India, are forging their distinct personalities, but as the girls secretly meet boys, they soon come face to face with outmoded cultural traditions that challenge their family and place in the community, but most importantly their bonds as loyal friends. Rima Das made a global splash with Village Rockstars and Bulbul Can Sing continues to prove her humane, world-class talent.”
Too Desi Too Queer, 6pm 28th June. LIFF joins with Thrive LDN, Brixton Reel Film Festival, Queer Asia, University of Westminster and others to present a special free event exploring wellbeing in London’s South Asian LGBTQ+ communities. The event includes a dynamic range of recent LGBTQ+ shorts from South Asia and the UK, followed by a panel debate exploring community empowerment and looking after individual wellbeing, with high profile speakers. A networking social with DJ ends the evening at University of Westminster, Portland Place Campus. For more details on this event and the individual short films head to the Too Desi Too Queer page on the official LIFF website.
For the full festival lineup, venue details and to purchase tickets head to the London Indian Film Festival website.