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Bodily Autonomy

After the banning of body modification procedures using consent laws that have restricted queer practices, this talk explores sex, subcultures and personal autonomy.

This is an 18+ screening

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The legal landscape changed forever with the 1987 Spanner case, in which 16 gay men were charged for offences relating to possessing and recording what was referred to as ‘obscene material’. Since then, the UK has undergone a number of legal cases (including the now-repealed UK Porn Laws and Age Verification) around the tricky notion of consent, including the jailing last year of body modification practitioner Brendan Macarthy, making it illegal to perform tongue splitting or under-skin implants. 30 years since the Spanner trials, consent laws are still being used to frame the law around sexuality, fetishes, porn and now body modification. Join us for a discussion in which we bring together filmmakers, writers and activists to discuss the law, alternative lifestyles and community solidarity.

Jay Bernard

Panellists include

Phyllis Christopher

Phyllis' Christopher's body of work documenting LGBT visibility, sexuality and protest in San Francisco has been published in the books: Nothing But The Girl: The Blatant Lesbian Image (co-edited by Susie Bright and Jill Posener), Photo Sex: Fine Art Sexual Photography Comes of Age (edited by David Steinberg), Art & Queer Culture (co-edited by Catherine Lord and Richard Meyer) and Aperture Magazine. She is the former photo editor On Our Backs magazine. She has been featured on HBO's Sexbites, Canadian television's Sex TV and the documentary film, Erotica - A Journey into Female Sexuality. In January 2017, her work was featured in the retrospective: On Our Backs: An Archive, at The Newbridge Project Gallery, Newcastle, and in 2019 at Nottingham Contemporary in the group show Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resitance. In March of 2021 Book Works will Publish a collection of her work, entitled: Heart, Hand, Art: Erotic Moments from a Sexual Revolution.

Max Disgrace

Max Disgrace is an award-winning film director, a programmer for the London Porn Film Festival and a proud, trans pervert. Max was invited to this year's Berlinale Talents and their film Tribute is in the official selection of BFI Flare 2020. Their previous film Crystal Clear featured at BFI Flare 2019, as well as at Tate Modern when they were invited to give an artist talk. Crystal Clear was the winner of the short film award at Porny Days - Film Kunst Festival Zürich 2017.Their work has also been featured in Edging in LUX, London (artists' moving image), at Porn Film Festival Berlin, at the Schwules Museum, Berlin and has been invited to many queer film festivals internationally, including Oslo Fusion Film Festival, Cinema Queer and CineKink this year alone. Their films can be found at pinklabel.tv

Michelle Handelman

Michelle Handelman makes hypnotic moving image installations that push against the boundaries of gender, race, and sexuality. Coming up through the years of the AIDS crisis and Culture Wars, Handelman has built a body of work that looks at the dark and uncomfortable spaces of queer identity, investigating the things we collectively fear and deny: sex, death, desire, chaos. She is a Creative Capital awardee and Guggenheim fellow, and has received numerous awards including a recent commission from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for her latest project Hustlers & Empires (2018). Handelman is an Associate Professor in the Film, Media and Performing Arts department at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City.


Venus is a performer, fetish wrestler and Domme. A practitioner of martial arts for nearly twenty years, she facilitates workshops that explore the intersections of self-defence, kink and intimacy. She is founder of Sex And Rage, an organisation led by sex workers, educators and activists that resists stigma and shame and makes social change through alternative sex education.


Additional information

Total running time c90min.

A joint ticket for Blood Sisters and Bodily Autonomy is available at £22, concs £18 (BFI Members pay £2 less) available by phone or in person at the BFI Southbank box office.

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