Against the Law was the opening night film of this year’s BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival and one of the centrepieces of the BBC’s Gay Britannia series. It’s easy to see why a film about Peter Wildeblood seemed apt this year. He was one of the key figures in what happened in the run up to the Wolfenden Report, which recommenced that gay male sex in England and Wales should be decriminalised. Although it took 10 years for the government to act, eventually gay sex was partly made legal 50 years ago in 1967.
The events were previously turned into a very good 2007 docudrama by Channel 4 in the form of A Very British Sex Scandal (the 50th Anniversary of the Wolfenden report). However, while A Very British Sex Scandal was mostly interested in the beginning of the story, Against The Law focuses its thematic energies on what happened next. It also includes documentary elements, with a collection of older gentlemen offering their remembrances of what life was like when being gay was illegal. It’s a style reminiscent of Switzerland’s excellent gay movie, The Circle (Der Kreis), which was also a proper film, but included contributions from real people involved in the world it was talking about. [Read more…]