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Out in the Shadows

Queer expression in times of cinema censorship

a group of topless men stand looking at the floor

These filmmakers show that great queer art can flourish in the darkest of times, out in the shadows.

Some of the greatest films of all time have been made by LGBTQ+ directors, although many were working at times of history when identifying as queer was taboo, and even a criminal offence.

Despite creating films which featured no explicitly queer content, which would have led to their films being banned or heavily censored, a number of LGBTQ+ filmmakers created work that managed to express their sexuality, through coded storytelling, symbolism, aesthetic and inventive technique.

The programme looks at films from US, the UK, the Soviet Union and the Middle East, including a screening of Lebanese filmmaker Mazen Khaled’s remarkable Martyr (Lebanon, 2017), in which a fateful trip to a beach provokes complex emotions in a group of young men. 

Barbican Cinemas