Huckleberry has a crush on his lifelong friend Jolene, even though she’s deep in a relationship with Clint, a drug addicted, violent man far beneath her. Taking matters into his own hands, he irreparably changes the dynamics of his friendship group as he confuses seeking justice with winning the heart of a girl he has long admired.
Outside of documentaries, the Syrian refugee crisis is yet to become a major subject in arthouse cinema, but its impact is beginning to be keenly felt by LGBT filmmakers. People arriving from a country with a hostile attitude towards gay people can find themselves struggling to fit in when arriving in a more welcoming environment, feeling displaced from the community in which they belong due to having to hide who they are for so long.
Fans of the unrelenting absurdism of Tim Robinson’s Netflix series I Think You Should Leave will be delighted to hear that an offbeat counterpart is currently making its way around the LGBTQ festival circuit. Cubby, the directorial debut of writer and star Mark Blane, is a distinctively queer spin on a comedic archetype largely reserved for straight protagonists: the man-baby who shirks adult responsibility at every opportunity, never ceasing to view the world through naive eyes.
The film follows Tina, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who has spent the vast majority of her life in the United States. Living with her grandmother, Tina is hoping to raise the money for the next step in her transition, while dealing with a long term boyfriend who appears embarrassed to be seen with her in public. Elsewhere, the film tackles important themes such as violence against trans women, and the normalised prejudice against the community.
The Shiny Shrimps (Les crevettes pailletées) has been a box office hit in France, and has provoked debate on the issue of homophobia in sport. “It was a huge debate in France. I did the cover of L’Equipe, which is the main sports magazine in France. They did something brave by publishing a cover showing me and my teammate kissing each other, and some of the readers of the magazine responded negatively, saying they’d never buy the magazine anymore.”
It’s scathing and satirical as it sinks its teeth into predatory men and far right conspiracy theorists, providing the broadest dark laughs while offering something far more groundbreaking for the vampire genre below such surface pleasures. It’s a humble film that has no intention above making horror fans howl in delight – but on closer inspection, it’s clear that it deserves far more credit than a film in this style is likely to receive.
A Dog Barking at the Moon was this year’s winner of Berlin’s Teddy award, and will be continuing its festival run at this year’s Outfest. The sheer bravery that led to this singular art film getting made, even lying to the Chinese censorship board about the subject matter in order to secure necessary funding, shows how passionate Xiang Zi was about sharing her story, warts and all.
Love Blooms, is a lowkey drama that could be best described as a post-coming of age film. After their first love has died out with a whimper, we follow two characters who have to confront their adult lives on their own for the first time, and navigate a city where they have both moved in order to get a fresh start.
It’s telling that in any history lesson on the rising cold war tensions of the late 40’s and 1950’s, McCarthyism is strictly defined as accusations of communist sympathies. What has got lost in the history books in the intervening years is a crucial part of American LGBT history, that PBS documentary The Lavender Scare aims to bring back into the national conversation – and on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, this damning, widespread saga of prejudice can now be seen as an equally pivotal step towards equal rights.
It may be surprising to see a Russian film nominated for the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, especially considering the country’s deeply conservative laws that effectively stop the financing of any films with LGBT themes. But director Kantemir Balagov, in just his second feature, has made something far more ambiguous, and dripping in queer subtext; a haunting tale of repressed emotion in the aftermath of the Second World War, where the conflicting desires of two women leads to a miserable, quasi-abusive relationship masquerading as a friendship.
Maxime is two weeks away from leaving his life in Canada behind to take a two year world trip, starting on the opposite side of the globe in Melbourne. He plans on spending the last couple of weeks seeing friends, and on one weekend getaway, volunteers to star in a student short film – his friend Matthias losing a bet and having to take the opposite role. The scene requires the pair to kiss, something which Maxime doesn’t think twice about, but causes Matthias to unpack a lot of suppressed emotions.