Criminal Acts: A Charged Past - Picturehouse Spotlight

Criminal Acts: A Charged Past

Criminal Acts: A Charged Past is a season to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in…

Criminal Acts: A Charged Past is a season to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales.

The programme presents a mix of British films, some that explicitly address the legal history of same-sex relationships in the UK, and others that simply reflect the condition of sexual-minority life in this country in a specific place, at a specific time.

The season aims to open up discussion through a handful of landmark films that explore our collective past.

Explore the season by selecting a title below or scroll to the bottom of the page and select your local Picturehouse. Not all films are showing at all Picturehouse Cinemas.

Sunday 28 May

The Naked Civil Servant (15)


Director: Jack Gold. Starring: John Hurt. UK 1975. 80 mins.

John Hurt’s BAFTA-winning performance is widely seen as one of the finest in a long and distinguished career.

Sunday 18 June

My Beautiful Laundrette (15)


Director: Stephen Frears. Starring: Daniel-Day Lewis, Gordon Warnecke. UK 1985. 97 mins.

Stephen Frears’ iconic film is both a touching romance and a powerful depiction of the struggles of minorities in Thatcher’s Britain.

Tuesday 27 June

Love Is The Devil (15)


Director: John Maybury. Starring: Derek Jacobi, Daniel Craig, Tilda Swinton. UK 1998. 90 mins.

John Maybury’s daring art biopic stars Derek Jacobi as Francis Bacon and Daniel Craig as his muse, a small-time thief drawn into the painter’s bohemian circle.

Monday 10 July

Nighthawks (15)


Director: Ron Peck, Paul Hallam. Starring: Ken Robertson. UK 1978. 114 mins.

Often seen as Britain’s first major gay film, this is a vivid account of the London gay scene soon after decriminalisation.

Tuesday 18 July

Weekend (18)


Director: Andrew Haigh. Starring: Tom Cullen, Chris New. UK 2011. 97 mins.

Andrew Haigh’s modern classic, a breakout hit and a milestone in British cinema, sees two young men find a one-night-stand turning into something far more serious.

Monday 31 July

My Summer Of Love (15)


Director: Pawel Pawlikowski. Starring: Emily Blunt, Natalie Press. UK 2004. 86 mins.

Pawel Pawlikowski’s BAFTA-winning drama, a potent depiction of girlhood, young love and endless summers, finally returns to the big screen.

Wednesday 9 August

Prick Up Your Ears (15)


Director: Stephen Frears. Starring: Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina. UK 1987. 110 mins. 

Stephen Frears and screenwriter Alan Bennett depict the realities of gay life in ’60s London in this classic ’80s drama.

Tuesday 15 August

Victim (PG)


Director: Basil Dearden. Starring: Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Syms. UK 1961. 100 mins. 

Basil Dearden’s classic thriller stars Dirk Bogarde in his most daring role, as a gay lawyer fighting back against the blackmailers who dare to target him.

Find your cinema…

Clapham Picturehouse

Crouch End Picturehouse

East Dulwich Picturehouse and Café

Greenwich Picturehouse

Hackney Picturehouse

Picturehouse Central, London’s West End

The Ritzy, Brixton

Stratford Picturehouse, London

Little Theatre Cinema, Bath

Picturehouse at National Media Museum, Bradford

Duke’s at Komedia, Brighton

Duke of York’s, Brighton

Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge

Cameo, Edinburgh

Exeter Picturehouse

Regal Picturehouse, Henley-on-Thames

Cinema City, Norwich

Picturehouse at FACT, Liverpool

Phoenix Picturehouse, Oxford

Harbour Lights, Southampton

City Screen, York


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