Seeing the reflection of our experiences in movies is a good way for self-determination and being able to deal with everyday challenges. Cinema is a medium that, on the one hand, is a source of pleasure and, on the other hand, easily shares with us the simple truths that some people still cannot understand.
For decades, cinema didn’t talk about queer experiences, but that is slowly changing, and today it’s much easier to find a movie that will relate to us, giving us a new perspective on a familiar experience. In this article, we recommend 5 good movies about queer people.
I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing
Isn’t life the strangest thing you’ve ever seen?
Patricia Rozema’s debut film, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing is a character study. A lonely 30-year-old Polly (Sheila McCarthy) is a photographer, but due to a lack of self-confidence, she hangs her work on the walls of her room and does not show it to anyone, lives alone with her cat and is lost in imaginary worlds – she can fly over cities, appear in the role of a conductor or in other fictional situations.
The creative woman can’t handle social situations, she has trouble communicating with people and her eyes always turn away from imagination, she can’t even concentrate on her new job in an art gallery, and with all this is comes the fact that she falls in love with a woman and finds herself on the path of sexual self-determination.
This wonderful comedy film, thanks to Sheila McCarthy’s impeccable performance, shows that behind the facade of seemingly strange, incomprehensible, confused people, there are fascinating depths, creative journeys that lead to new discoveries.
120 Beats per Minute
Robin Campillo’s film 120 Beats per Minute takes place in France in the early 90’s and is about the guerrilla movement ACT UP. The movement aimed to denounce the complete indifference of the political elite and big pharmaceutical companies in the aftermath of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and to call for action by various agencies and communities in order to support AIDS research and protect people from the vital danger [Note: HIV/AIDS is manageable today — there is medicine which protects us from infection, as well as the medicine that people with the virus use, and are practically healthy]. The film is both a personal story and an exploration of the activist movement, the consistent actions, and the effective ways to bring about change.
The film balances both a personal, moving story about a couple in love, one of whom has the virus, and a general movement that fought to change the political agenda. 120 Beats per Minute exposes the indifference of institutions, the role of governments in the HIV epidemic crisis, and shows the people whose lives have been costed by the attitudes of decision-makers.
Campillo was able to flawlessly tell a story of struggle, support, love, death, and euphoria — people who were at the epicenter of events at the most tumultuous time for queers, who became leaders and stopped at nothing to change what they didn’t like, which put many lives at risk. It should also be noted the excellent performance of the actors, you will not find even one weak link in the film, which gives a single perfect result.
Sometimes the world is cruel.
In Sean Baker’s 2015 comedy-drama film Tangerine, protagonists Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor) search for Sin-Dee’s “pimp” boyfriend who cheated on her while the film’s main character was in custody for a month.
The film opens the door to the daily lives, challenges, goals and memories of transgender women involved in sex work found in an adventure and tells us with unadorned dialogues, introduces us to two friends who are each other’s unyielding support.
Baker manages not to turn the film into a sterile spectacle, putting the experiences of trans women into a form that is acceptable to a wider audience. This is a film about brave, strong, comical, emotional, reliable women who manage to cope (including with the help of humor) all the small and significant difficulties they have to go through.
It should be noted here that the main roles are played by inexperienced actors, transgender women, and despite it being their debut, they create outstanding cinematic characters.
If I try to explain the plot of Pedro Almodóvar’s 2004 film Bad Education, many may be confused – this is a movie in which the process of making a movie is depicted, and to this is added the childhood memories of the main characters at a Catholic school. But if you watch the film, you will understand that what seems to be large puzzle is executed in such a way that the viewer is fully engaged and every detail is worked out to perfection.
Ignacio Rodríguez (Gael García Bernal) goes to Enrique Goded (Fele Martínez) and brings him a script about their days at a Catholic school, telling him that they studied together and were even childhood sweethearts. As the story progresses, we learn more about the traumatic childhood experiences of the main characters — the story of an abusive (including sexually) Catholic priest and vulnerable children who sacrifice themselves to protect each other and their friends. These childhood experiences completely determine the adulthood of the main characters.
Bad Education deals with a number of important topics, including religious oppression, abuse, self-determination, the conflict or intersection between reality and fantasy, the challenges and losses associated with gender confirmation surgery, and the ways and means of coping.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
I want to take you on a strange journey, if you allow me.
Jim Sharman’s 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show is one of the most unusual experiences a film lover can have. It is a journey beyond the socially accepted and the well-known comfortable routine, in which, if you swim once and face it with enough openness, you will come out bursting with new ideas. You will understand that there is another way, another truth, which is not necessarily familiar to you.
Everything starts with a newly married couple entering the door of a palace, behind which an unprecedented show of sexuality, bodily pleasure, re-evaluation of social norms and neglect is hidden. Completely different from the norms accepted in society, the show is, so to speak, a test for a middle-class newlywed couple.
In this film, even the cheap decorations work, as The Rocky Horror Picture Show mocks the clichés of genre cinema of previous decades and creates a new experience, a queer celebration that tells a story without categories, labels, and every detail is full of a camp sensibility (exaggerated, eye-catching, colorful and theatrical style, sensitivity). Observing each actor perform is a joy, but a special mention goes to Tim Curry, who plays the lead role brilliantly and takes us on a journey throughout the film.
Also Read: 5 Good Movies About Queer People (Part I)