Just so there’s no misunderstanding here about the title of this post: I am not trying to make fun of Pride month. I am making fun of various companies that do this performative shit annually, and I’m making fun of myself as someone who would like to be an ally, but really isn’t, because I don’t really do anything besides random things like this for that community, nor do I identify as queer.
Note that any movie can have a queer reading to it, but I’m not trying to do that here. I’m going for explicit queerness. This does bring up the question on where the line is. Is Everything Everywhere All At Once a queer movie? Sort of. The lesbian relationship isn’t in itself a huge theme, but at the same time, it could be argued that the alienation felt by Joy that leads to the events of the movie was tied to her identity as a lesbian. I like the movie very much, but decided to leave it out, mostly to be able to fit other movies on the actual list.
Who is this for? As always, mostly for me, but maybe, just maybe, there’s some 13-year-old out there, who doesn’t really understand their feelings and would like some representation. However, these have been chosen from my point of view, and again, I don’t see myself as queer, so there might be some amount of heteronormative bias here. On the other hand, if I can enjoy these, you don’t need to be queer yourself to enjoy these either. Actually, at least two of these were pretty much instant classics, that were able to cross many lines and enter the film canon. Let’s start with those.
Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) (Céline Sciamma, 2019, France)
Two women in the 18th century having a small window of time for themselves before being forced to return to “normalcy”. While there is a deadline here and the women know that their time together will come to an end, this is just a very cozy movie. Again, an instant classic, which many people I know, who are usually interested in genre movies, just find great. It reached the Sight & Sound Critics list of 2022 at 30 despite being only three years old at the time.
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016, USA)
Won the Oscar for best film and is one of those movies that are so deserving of that honor, that it gives the whole awards thing some credibility. It’s about a black gay man and is told in three acts starting from childhood, then teen years and finally as an adult. Life is cruel, but he perseveres.
And now for the rest…
Dating Amber (David Freyne, 2020, UK)
Two teenagers pretend to have a relationship in order to avoid unwanted attention for their queerness. Just a nice little comedy movie.
Mädchen in Uniform (Leontine Sagan & Carl Froelich, 1931, Germany)
Easily the oldest movie here. It’s 37 years older than the next oldest one. It’s about a newly arrived girl at an all-girls school. She falls in love with her teacher, but it doesn’t go well.
Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio, 2017, UK)
A woman, who left her orthodox Jewish community, because of her sexuality, returns to attend her father’s funeral, to which she was not invited to. The woman she was in love with is still there, but married to a prominent rabbi.
The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2018, UK)
A lot of interpolation here, but this is sort of based on the friendship between Queen Anne and the wife of one of the general’s working for her, Lady Sarah. A newly arrived woman disrupts their relationship and tries to take the place of Sarah in a cutthroat game over the affections of the queen.
Teorema (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1968, UK)
A man announces his arrival at the home of a rich family. While there, he seduces or let’s himself be seduced by each member of the family in turn, leading to all the family members’ lives to go into turmoil.
Love, Simon (Greg Berlanti, 2018, USA)
Simon is living in the closet, but he is also in correspondence with another closeted teenager. When Simon’s secret comes out, it’s time to figure out who the other person is.
The Handmaiden (Park Chan-wook, 2016, South Korea)
Sook-Hee is hired to spy on and manipulate Lady Hideko in order for her to marry Count Fukijawa, but turns out the two women fall in love instead.
The Half of It (Alice Wu, 2020, USA)
Ellie makes extra money by writing essays for her classmates. Then, a classmate comes up with an idea: Maybe Ellie could write loveletters on his behalf. Well, Ellie finds herself infatuated with his crush as well.
Other movies I considered putting on the list above: Saving Face, Orlando, Behind the Candelabra, Blockers, Pride, Weekend, Beginners, Eisenstein in Guanajuato, Swan Song, Booksmart, Bros, Tangerine, The Kids Are Alright, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Were All Going to the World’s Fair, A Single Man, Boys Don’t Cry, But I’m a Cheerleader
A lot of British movies there. Weirdly many of these movies came out during the latter part of 2010s. I guess it tells you the world is finally ready for these kinds of stories.