Billed as the consummate tale of homosexuality in the 20th century, Richard Laxton’s An Englishman in New York kicks off the Frameline San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival tonight at the Castro Theatre.

Inspired partially by Quentin Crisp’s 1968 biography and conceived as a sequel to 1975’s award-winning TV film The Naked Civil Servant, Englishman finds the legendary John Hurt (Alien, V for Vendetta) revisiting his role as Crisp, Britain’s self-proclaimed “most famous homosexual” and a prominent lecturer, author and actor. Here, Crisp has abandoned his native England for the friendlier confines of Manhattan, where he stars in an off-Broadway show and lands a writing gig at the Village Voice.

Crisp was a controversial figure, at one point famously dismissing AIDS as “a fad, nothing more,” and Hurt captures his essence brilliantly in a performance that is at once poignant, flamboyant and haunted by loneliness and self-doubt.

Day-of-show tickets can be purchased at the venue.