By Luke Mintz
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Lesbian love story "Carol" starring Australian actress Cate Blanchett was on Tuesday named as the top LGBT film of all time by the British Film Institute in what was described as its first major critical survey of LGBT films.
Decided by a panel of 100 film experts, "Carol" topped a list of 30 films from more than 80 years of cinema history, followed closely by British director Andrew Haigh's "Weekend" and Hong Kong romantic drama "Happy Together".
The poll, that featured films from 12 countries including Thailand, Japan, Sweden, and Spain, was conducted to mark the 30th anniversary of BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival which is Britain's longest running lesbian and gay film event.
"Carol's win excites us because it's great to see a film about two women in love enjoy such prominence, particularly given cinema's relative lack of lesbian content," said Tricia Tuttle, deputy head of festivals BFI.
The film "Carol", based on the 1952 novel "The Price of Salt" by Patricia Highsmith, is the story of a wealthy married woman (Blanchett) who falls in love with an ambitious New York shop girl played by Rooney Mara in the 1950s.
It received critical acclaim upon its release last year, earning six Academy Award nominations including best actress and best supporting actress and nine BAFTA nominations although it did not win at either award ceremony.
Director Todd Haynes said "Carol" was in illustrious company on the list with other films including "Brokeback Mountain", "Un Chant d’Amour" and "My Own Private Idaho".
The film rated second, "Weekend", a 2011 gay romance, hit the headlines this month when it was given the worst possible rating by an influential Catholic Church body.
The Vatican-based Italian Conference of Bishops' Film Evaluation Commission rated the film "not advised, unusuable, scabrous" and its distributor Teodora Film had to scale back its release in Italy where some cinemas are owned by the church.
(Editing by Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.news.trust.org)