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Huw Lemmey’s new film navigates sex, politics and espionage


Next month, Studio Voltaire will present Ungentle, a 16mm film based on a new script by Huw Lemmey, co-directed with artist and researcher Onyeka Igwe. The project will be a visual journey through history-laden British landscapes, narrated by an imagined auteur whose fraught position as both a spy and a gay man in the mid-20th century is troubled by sex, secrecy, politics, and imperialism.

Lemmey is an unapologetic writer who often blends satire, politics, and sexuality in his fiction and essays. But he’s perhaps best known for co-hosting Bad Gays, the hugely popular podcast series that subverts the notion of gay icons and queer heroes. We spoke to Lemmey during his final week of filming Ungentle, to hear more about this first institutional project and its fascinating source material.

55 Broadway London, still from Ungentle, 2022. 

(Image credit: Phil Beard and Studio Voltaire)

Wallpaper*: Ungentle will explore the complex relationship between British espionage and male homosexuality. How did you come to discover their unlikely common ground?





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