Queering Powell + Pressburger

A panel discussion exploring the special resonances Powell and Pressburger’s films have for queer cultures today. With the theatrical high style of The Red Shoes and The Tales of Hoffmann, queer performers like Anton Walbrook, Eric Portman and Judith Furse, and a host of trembling same-sex relationships, straight desires rarely run smooth in these films, and a remarkably queer frisson is in the air.

Zorian Clayton is a BFI Flare Festival programmer since 2016, and Curator of Prints at the Victoria & Albert Museum specialising in the mid-19th century to now. He was a curatorial advisor for ‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear’ (2022) and co-curator of ‘When Walls Talk’, a poster exhibition at The House of European History, Brussels (2022).

A recipient of an Art Fund New Collecting Award to purchase the work of trans and non-binary artists for the V&A collection, he has been the co-chair of the museum’s LGBTQ Working Group for nearly a decade, programming numerous special events and research projects on queer art history.

Contributions to publications include The Poster: A Visual History (V&A, 2020); Museums, Sexuality, and Gender Activism’(Routledge, 2020); and he is currently writing a history of queer photography for Thames & Hudson (2024).

Emma Smart is Director of Collections, Learning and Engagement at the BFI. She co-programmed the annual BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival for 14 years and in 2022 programmed the BFI Southbank season ‘A Star Is Reborn’, marking the centenary of the iconic Judy Garland. She has given several illustrated lectures about the history of queer cinema and queer icons and has been part of international film juries including Oslo Fusion, Seattle Queer Film Festival and Outfest.

She gained her BA in Communication Studies at the University of Sunderland and her MA in History of Film and Visual Media at Birkbeck College, London.

Sarah Street is Professor of Film, University of Bristol. Her publications on British cinema include British National Cinema (1997) and Transatlantic Crossings: British Feature Films in the USA (2002) and Black Narcissus (2005). In 2007 she co-edited with Jackie Stacey Queer Screen: A Screen Reader. Her publications on colour films include Colour Films in Britain: The Negotiation of Innovation, 1900-55 (2012, winner of the BAFTSS book prize 2014), and two co-edited collections (with Simon Brown and Liz Watkins), Color and the Moving Image: History, Theory, Aesthetics, Archive (2012) and British Colour Cinema: Practices and Theories (2013). Her latest books are Deborah Kerr (2018); Chromatic Modernity: Color, Cinema, and Media of the 1920s (2019, co-authored with Joshua Yumibe; winner of Kovács book prize, SCMS 2020 and the IAMHIST-Michael Nelson prize 2021), and Colour Films in Britain: The Eastmancolor Revolution (co- authored with Keith M. Johnston, Paul Frith and Carolyn Rickards). She has contributed a chapter on colour in Powell and Pressburger’s films in The Cinema of Powell and Pressburger, edited by Nathalie Morris and Claire Smith (2023).

Host: Andrew Moor (Reader in Cinema History, Screen Studies Network, Manchester Metropolitan University) is the author of Powell and Pressburger: A Cinema of Magic Spaces (I.B.Tauris) and co-editor (with Ian Christie) of The Cinema of Michael Powell: International perspectives on an English filmmaker (BFI). He has published on aspects of LGBTQ+ cinema and British cinema more widely.

The Small Back Room
Fri 1 Dec 18:10 (+ intro); Sun 10 Dec 18:30; Sat 16 Dec 20:45; Fri 22 Dec 18:20; Wed 27 Dec 20:30; Sat 30 Dec 15:00
Oh… Rosalinda!!
Sat 2 Dec 11:45; Wed 13 Dec 20:45
Lazybones + Her Last Affaire
Sat 2 Dec 15:20; Wed 20 Dec 17:50
The Love Test + Something Always Happens
Sun 3 Dec 15:30; Tue 19 Dec 20:20
Library Talk: The Glass Pearls
Mon 4 Dec 18:30 BFI Reuben Library
Wanted for Murder + intro by Simon McCallum, BFI curator
Mon 4 Dec 20:40
Projecting the Archive: The End of the River + intro by film scholar Dr Kulraj Phullar
Tue 5 Dec 18:20
The Phantom Light
Wed 6 Dec 20:30; Sun 17 Dec 12:30
Peeping Tom
Thu 7 Dec 20:45 (+ intro); Sat 9 Dec 15:00 (+ Doesn’t Exist magazine launch and panel discussion hosted by Victor Fraga); Fri 15 Dec 20:50; Mon 18 Dec 20:45; Thu 21 Dec 18:00; Sat 23 Dec 18:00; Fri 29 Dec 18:15
The Red Shoes
From Fri 8 Dec
The Red Shoes in the Spotlight
Fri 8 Dec 18:00
Bluebeard’s Castle (Herzog Blaubarts Burg)
Fri 8 Dec 20:40; Fri 15 Dec 18:10 (+ intro by writer Lillian Crawford); Sat 23 Dec 13:30
Crown v. Stevens + Behind the Mask (aka The Man Behind the Mask)
Sat 9 Dec 12:40; Sat 23 Dec 15:00
The Tales of Hoffmann
Sat 9 Dec 17:30; Tue 12 Dec 20:20 (+ intro by Andrew Moor, Manchester Metropolitan University); Sat 16 Dec 14:45; Sat 30 Dec 17:30
Honeymoon (Luna de miel)
Sun 10 Dec 13:25; Thu 28 Dec 20:40
Queering Powell + Pressburger
Tue 12 Dec 18:00
Experimenta: Michelle Williams Gamaker and Powell + Pressburger + Michelle Williams Gamaker in conversation with Dr Kulraj Phullar
Wed 13 Dec 18:05
They’re a Weird Mob
Sat 16 Dec 17:45; Fri 29 Dec 20:40
Espionage: Never Turn Your Back on a Friend / A Free Agent + intro
Sun 17 Dec 15:15
Age of Consent
Fri 22 Dec 20:45; Wed 27 Dec 18:15
A Matter of Life and Death
Sat 23 Dec 15:00 BFI IMAX
Black Narcissus
Sat 30 Dec 14:30 BFI IMAX

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Programme notes and credits compiled by Sight and Sound and the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email