LGBTQ+ content is something that is still not readily accepted and heavily presented in mainstream viewership. It is important to celebrate these creative works, be more open- minded and have the opportunity to explore all types of love. There has been gradual change over the years and I only hope that it will blossom even more. After all, diverse representation is important especially to those in their young, vulnerable years who may find themselves in what they see on screens. To know that they are not alone and that who they are is something that cannot be taken away from them.
Below, I have listed my own personal recommendations of films that I have come across which I had found to be incredible and in need of higher appreciation. I am still learning, still growing and expanding my ever- growing list of films so if you have any suggestions, please tell me!
Girls Like Girls. Dir. Hayley Kiyoko, 2015.
It's official: Hayley Kiyoko is the reigning Sapphic queen of lovely anthems and incredible story-driven visual accompaniments. Her recent music videos have been filled with rich story- telling, championing girls who love girls. Girls Like Girls is where it all began with Kiyoko's stars being former actresses from Disney. Through Kiyoko's strong directing, she provides a soft lens into the protagonist's discovery that she has feelings for her best friend. Kiyoko guides us into her initial uncertainty through her lingering gazes and unspoken words until it culminates into a dramatic finale of realised feelings.
Milk. Dir. Gus Van Sant, 2008.
I remember when my friend, Mia recommended this film to me. Stemming from our renewed love for James Franco after watching all of Freaks and Geeks in a matter of days, it was only natural that we would start watching as much of his filmography as we could. Milk was of the ones that stood out to us and oh, did it make us cry. And he wasn't even the main star of the film! Milk is a powerful portrait of Harvey Milk who became the first openly gay elected official of California. It details the emotional tolls that comes from his passion for political activism and his determined passion to keep fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. The biographical film exhibits the amount of the pain and bravery that comes with fighting just to receive the same basic human rights like everyone else and the importance of banding together to keep the fire going.
Blue Is The Warmest Color. Dir. Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013.
The French are known for their often explicit portrayals of sex and romance in their films. Blue is the Warmest Color is not exempt from this however, its captivating prominence comes from its intimate portrayals of the triumphs and pitfalls of romance in its great coming-of-age love story. It follows Adele who evidently gains no satisfaction from her relationships with men. Her world begins to change when Emma, the beautiful girl with blue hair passes by and it is as if she has found her missing puzzle piece. The film is essentially two films in one that bring both emotional halves of Adele's journey into one beautiful and blue haze. Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux play their roles so magnificently, bringing raw emotion to every scene whether it be through the silent or loud moments.
Naissance des pieuvres (Water Lilies). Dir. Celine Sciamma, 2007.
A promising debut of Celine Sciamma whose aesthetics are very Sofia Coppola- esque. Water Lilies is a French moody coming- of-age tale of the complex and confusing nature of coming terms with your sexuality especially during your tender teenage years. It is an intimate peek into the sexual anxieties of young teenagers who are still exploring and coming to terms with their sexualities. Set against the backdrop of synchronised swimming and a seemingly endless summer, Sciamma highlights the angst and often heartbreaking moments of being confused with who you are.
The Price Of Salt (1952) by Patricia Highsmith / Carol. Dir. Todd Haynes. 2015.
For those who have read the book, can we all just agree that Therese has no chill at all when it comes to Carol? Ha, anyways, moving on, The Price of Salt is such a lovely read and during its time of its release, it was highly praised for its unconventional storytelling. i.e. A lesbian love story that doesn't end in tragedy! Christmas has always been considered as that 'magical time of the year' and for Therese, a worker at a department store who falls in love with the alluring and mysterious Carol who wanders in with her ~iconic~ fur coat, looking for a present for her daughter, it truly is. From "Don't you know I love you?" to "My angel, flung out of space," this book will have you tugging at your heartstrings. (Also, the film is divine! Cate and Rooney does the book so much justice.)
But I'm A Cheerleader. Dir. Jamie Babbit. 1999.
Before everyone fell in love with Natasha Lyonne's 'Nicky' from Orange in the New Black. she starred in a sweet little film where a cheerleader realises that she is attracted to girls much to the dismay of her parents thus, their decision to put her in a 'reformation camp.' Don't worry, the film is not as morbid as it sounds. But I'm a Cheerleader is a look into the beautiful journey of somebody finally knowing who they are and embracing their true selves told through bright colour schemes and satirical comedic moments. Directed by Jamie Babbitt who is renowned for directing episodes of the iconic feel-good Gilmore Girls and starring Ru-Paul, himself, you know that you're in for a fun ride.
Tangerine. Dir. Sean S. Baker. 2015.
Tangerine is not your average Christmas film. It follows the unapologetic and hilarious protagonist, Sin-Dee who is a transgender sex- worker. She commences on an adventurous (and cuss-filled) Christmas Eve rampage to track down her unfaithful pimp boyfriend, Chester. Among the chaotic buzz of the streets that she walks through, there is a softness that weaves itself throughout the fast- paced narrative. Despite the plot being driven on her finding Chester, the shining gem of the film lies in its raw depiction of Sin- Dee's relationship with her best friend, Alexandra. We see their relationship unfurl over the course of eventful hours - all its painful moments and its tender ones. We see their skies flaring with vivid tangerine colours before gradually, settling into soft lilac moments where nothing seems to be certain. Tangerine is a simultaneously dazzling and dizzying that does not shy away from portraying L.A.'s sex- trade subculture and exhibiting the agonies of heartbreak whether it be from a lover or a friend.
Collages were made by me. .