With London Pride this weekend marking one of the biggest events in the LGBT calender, the celebrations will now be further booming with the incredible news that equal marriage has been declared legal in all 50 states of America by the Supreme Court. Following this huge benchmark in the gay rights movement, there’s no better way to celebrate than by sparing a couple of hours to watch one of these fantastic LGBT-themed films from around the globe:
Celebrating the later life and times of Harvey Milk, this glorious biopic demonstrates the struggles faced by the gay activist before being elected as California’s first openly gay politician. Winning the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Sean Penn) and Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Dustin Lance Black), Milk tastefully documents the LGBT movement in 1970s America, both the successes achieved and the bigotry received. Using archive footage of the infamous gay bar police raids of the 50s and 60s, as well as Dianne Feinstein’s real-life announcement of Harvey Milk’s assassination on November 27th 1978, the combination of reality and fabrication is truly touching and will inevitably make you shed a tear.
A love story, a coming out story and a family affair; the Swedish film Kyss Mig kills three birds with one stone. Frida (Liv Mjönes), a calm and good-humoured thirty-something, meets sullen and fragile Mia (Ruth Vega Fernandez) at an engagement party. The two are immediately drawn to each other but Mia faces a problem in her engagement to Tim (Joakim Nättergvist). Throughout the film, Mia is a difficult character to engage with. Being moody and often bitter towards Frida, it can be hard to understand why such a good-natured soul is even interested in Mia. Despite this, Kyss Mig truly blossoms through the varying reactions of Frida and Mia’s families when they discover the true extent of their relationship.
Set in Thatcher’s Britain 1984, Pride tells the wonderful true story of a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists who help to raise money for struggling families during the miners’ strike. When their Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign is rejected by the National Union of Mineworkers, the group form an alliance with a small mining village in Wales. What makes Pride so distinctive is that it identifies scrutiny as scrutiny, prejudice as prejudice; a minority bullied by society helps fight against the victimisation of another minority. The concept of two communities coming together is beautiful, despite the two struggling at first. By far, one of the strongest British films to be produced over the past five years and highly deserving of its BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer (Stephen Beresford and David Livingstone).
Politically ambitious Iranian-American filmmaker Maryam Keshavarz’s debut feature is an underrated gem. Despite the occasional glossy style making up for a plodding script, Circumstance follows Atafeh (Nikohl Boosheri), a rebellious teenager from a wealthy liberal Tehran family, as she navigates a burgeoning romantic yet star-crossed relationship with best friend Shireen (Sarah Kazemy). Keshavarz excels in providing a distinctive closeness between the two as they often fantasise a dissimilar life in Dubai. Circumstance is certainly no Persepolis in providing an exploration of Iranian youth culture but it’s completely worth watching.
Following the journey of two drag queens (Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce) and a transsexual woman (Terence Stamp) across the Australian Outback to perform their cabaret act in Alice Springs, Priscilla helped to promote Australian cinema and positive LGBT portrayals worldwide. Only occasionally and subtly commentating on such issues as gay parenting and the AIDS epidemic, the film is truly hilarious with shady one-liners and a leading cast you’d least expect to work a pair of stilettos. Having inspired the 1995 US remake To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, you’ll never love ABBA and Gloria Gaynor more after stepping aboard the fabulous Priscilla.
What films would you add to the list?
Comment with your thoughts.
– Daniel Sheppard Milk, Pride & The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
– Anna Richards Kyss Mig & Circumstance