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Love + Blood JulyJul 02 2021 10:00pm - JulyJul 05 2021 10:00pm

LOVE + BLOOD follows the life and work of performance artist Franko B. From his seminal bleeding performance in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall to his personal struggles with family, trauma, and ambition, the film explores an extraordinary life lived by an artist without compromise.

Escaping a tumultuous and violent childhood in Italy, Franko came to London at the end of the 1970s as a teenager. On the lively streets of Brixton, he became an unlikely artist, rising to fame in the 1990s for live performance work using his own blood. His areas of focus have always been decidedly radical, including: queer sex, HIV/AIDS, hardcore body art, punk, and political/cultural violence.

From the beginning, his practice often referenced a very difficult childhood, part of which was spent in an Italian institution for neglected children. A self-proclaimed outsider, Franko’s works come with a steep personal cost: financial, emotional and physical. Following a serious injury during a performance, Franko was forced to give up his signature bleeding work and redirect his ambition.

With unprecedented access that can only come with a close personal friendship, filmmaker Nathaniel Walters follows Franko’s journey from Italy through his rise to fame in the UK, his struggle to stay relevant post-bleeding and his relationship with Tom, his mentee turned lover and life partner. When Franko launches plans for his most ambitious performance, the first to directly confront his childhood, the film returns with him to Italy. From the orphanage that rescued him to a reunion with the family he ran away from 40 years earlier, the trip promises to change the course of his artistic practice. And, it does.

Franko’s story is told through a mix of personal interviews, actuality, and performance, as well as lost and rare archival footage. Using animation, digital enhancement and the voices of notable artists and friends, we see Franko’s extraordinary work as never seen before. Through intimate performance documentation and access to Franko’s extensive archives, the film raises powerful questions about the purpose of art, and how it fuels connection across love, family, and society. In the end, LOVE + BLOOD offers a deeply personal and timely glimpse into an inspiring life of a truly remarkable and influential queer artist.

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