By Austin Dale, Devin Lee Fuller, Peter Knegt, Bryce J. Renninger and Nigel M. Smith | Indiewire June 5, 2012 at 1:22PM
This June marks the 43rd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the iconic New York City uprising that played a considerable role in the pioneering years of the gay and lesbian rights movement. Mass LGBT pride celebrations will be happening all over as a result, but you can also go no further than your living room to partake in your own little way.
In honor of Pride Month, Indiewire is offering 43 suggestions -- one for each year since Stonewall -- for quality LGBT-themed home viewing. It's by no means a definitive, all-encompassing list. We simply asked five of Indiewire's writers to come up with a bunch of their all-time favorites, with no particular criteria beyond than they stood out to them personally as a worthy inclusion in such a list (in a few cases whether the filmmakers intended it as LGBT-themed or not). So as a result there's scores of fantastic examples out there that didn't make our cut.
But 43 films are already a pretty ambitious start for someone's June home-viewing experiences. So here they are, in alphabetical order:
“Angels in America”
Mike Nichols’ six-hour mini-series might just be the defining portrait of the AIDS crisis in 1980s New York. Featuring a cast that includes Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Patrick Wilson, Mary-Louise Parker, Emma Thompson and Jeffrey Wright, the adaptation of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize winning play is a provocative and insightful examination of gay men in the Reagan era. “Angels in America” has a massive scope, tackling religion, politics, life, death, sexuality and racism; but somehow the mini-series brings it all together as a cohesive whole. The mini-series broke the record for the most Emmy awards won by a single program in 2004 including wins for Pacino as infamous attorney Roy Cohn and Meryl Streep’s multiple roles as a Mormon mother, convicted conspirator Ethel Rosenberg and a rabbi(!). [Devin Lee Fuller]
Thanks to Pedro Almodovar's scorching gay melodrama "Bad Education," the world now knows that Mexican hunk Gael Garcia Bernal makes for one fine looking woman. In the NC-17 rated affair, Bernal gives one his most varied turns as an actor with a mysterious past who shows up at a director's office to pitch an idea for a script, only to claim to be the filmmaker's long lost first love. Being an Almodovar joint, the plot is an unwieldy wonder, full of twists and turns, so the less we say about the story the better. Just know that "Bad Education" is one of the director's most autobiographical works (much of the film is set at an all boys Catholic school, similar to the one Almodovar attended as a child), on top of being devilish fun from start to finish. [Nigel M. Smith]
"The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye"
Marie Loisier's profile of rocker Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (Psychic TV, Throbbing Gristle) documents the love Genesis shared with their partner Lady Jaye in a visually captivating exploration of their unusual relationship. Genesis and Lady Jaye saw themselves as one, going great lengths to get cosmetic surgery to look alike and insisting on plural pronouns when referring to them. Genesis and Lady Jaye considered themselves one, and the dissolution of their relationship is filmed tenderly and with great care. A love story that absolutely cannot be missed. [Bryce J. Renninger]
One of many fantastic mid-to-late 1990s coming out romantic dramas (other worthy examples include "Get Real" and "Edge of Seventeen"), Hettie MacDonald's "Beautiful Thing" adapted Jonathan Harvey's 1993 play into a tender, affecting ode to young love and the very beautiful thing that can be the accepting mother-gay son bond. It holds a particularly special place for me (a VHS copy of the film hidden under my bed was discovered by my own mother, leading to the disclosure of my own homosexuality), but even with that aside, it's a very difficult movie for pretty much any reasonable person not to fall a little in love with. Even though it tells the conventional coming out tale we've certainly seen many times before, its handled with such warmth and intelligence that it feels entirely fresh. [Peter Knegt]
"Before Night Falls"
Javier Bardem earned his first Academy Award-nomination with his searing turn as openly gay poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas in Julian Schnabel's drama, based on the Arenas' autobiography of the same name. The film marked a more accomplished follow-up to Schnable's "Basquiat' biopic, foregoing that film's showy flashiness to let Bardem's performance take center stage and pay proper tribute to Arenas, who took his own life in 1990 (he was suffering from AIDS) after leaving Cuba for the U.S. following years of persecution. Be on the lookout for Johnny Depp in two great cameo roles as a transvestite who smuggles Arenas' manuscripts out of prison, and as a manipulative prison guard. [Nigel M. Smith]
The late Derek Jarman made a remarkable amount of challenging, bold contributions to cinema, LGBT or otherwise. But it was his twelfth and final feature -- 1993's "Blue" -- that as will always stand as one of the more haunting and profound cinematic experiences I've encountered. Released just four months before his AIDS-related death, "Blue" consists of a single shot of a saturated blue color filling the screen, working as a background to a soundtrack of voices (including John Quentin, Nigel Terry and Tilda Swinton, as well as Jarman himself), sound effects and music. Together, they work to convey an autobiographical portrait of Jarman, perhaps most notably his experiences with AIDS -- both literally and allegorically. You can and should watch it in its entirety below:
“Boys Don’t Cry”
Released a year after the murder of Matthew Shephard, Kimberly Peirce’s “Boys Don’t Cry” depicts the true story of Brandon Teena, a transgendered man who was raped and beaten to death after his friends discovered he was biologically female. Hilary Swank is remarkable as the hopeful and tough young Brandon, and she rightly received an Academy Award for her performance. The film’s prolonged sequences and use of time lapse photography give it a hallucinatory feel; Peirce says specific scenes were inspired by films like “Raging Bull” and “The Wizard of Oz.” But the film’s greatest achievement is in its presentation of the love story between Brandon and his girlfriend, Lana (Chloe Sevigny), who accepts Brandon the way he is. “Boys Don’t Cry” argues for the importance of being true to oneself despite tremendous adversity. [Devin Lee Fuller]
As this list proves, LGBT cinema existed long before “Brokeback Mountain,” but Ang Lee’s film is arguably the first gay romance to ever break through to the mainstream culture. Based on a short story by Annie Proulx, “Brokeback Mountain” stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as cowboys who fall in love while herding sheep in the summer of 1963. Transcending its label as “the gay cowboy movie,” the film had both straight and gay audiences alike lining up outside of theaters. Ledger gives an iconic performance as Ennis, infusing his character with a stoic pathos and longing. The film rightly received eight Academy Award nominations, and many cried foul at Hollywood’s perceived homophobia after it lost Best Picture to the racism drama “Crash.” But the importance of “Brokeback Mountain” surpasses awards recognition; it proved to mainstream America that a gay romance could be just as vital, rewarding and heart breaking as any other. [Devin Lee Fuller]
"But I'm a Cheerleader"
Using stereotypes to fuel its absurd satire of gay rehabilitation clinics, "But I'm a Cheerleader" also pushes camp to the limits, with RuPaul giving a top-notch comedic performance as a curer-of-the-gay. There's also appearances by Michelle Williams, hunk Eddie Cibrian and "Night Court" actor Richard Moll. Oh...right, and the woman who needs to be cured of her lesbianism is NATASHA LYONNE. This one shares a director and producer with "The Itty Bitty Titty Committee," and it's absolutely pure fun. [Bryce J. Renninger]
A massive hit in its native Quebec where it went on to win a slew of Genie Awards (Canada's answer to the Oscars), "C.R.A.Z.Y." centers on the coming-of-age and coming out of Zac Beaulieu (played by Marc-Andre Grondin in his teenage and young adult years). Spanning a hefty 20 years in his life (from 1960 through 1980), filmmaker Jean-Marc Valee ("The Young Victoria") spans a lot of time in "C.R.A.Z.Y.," but keeps the tale remarkably contained on Beaulieu's journey and on his turbulent relationship to his father (Michel Cote). Boasting a soundtrack that includes its fair share of David Bowie and a fantastic ensemble cast, "C.R.A.Z.Y." is crowd pleasing without ever being cloying. [Nigel M. Smith]
"Death in Venice"
Visconti's "Death In Venice" is a profoundly sad film, and, surprisingly, not a creepy one. Gay actor Dirk Bogarde plays Gustav von Ascherbach, an aging composer who vacations in Venice for his health, but never returns. In between his arrival and his deeply cinematic death, he encounters, falls in love with and then becomes utterly obsessed with a Polish boy named Tadzio. He is beautiful, mysterious, and possibly imaginery, and his sadistic romantic gazes at Gustav cause the man's demise. It's not a film about pedophilia, because the romance involved isn't exactly sexual. It's about a small kind of liberation. "Death In Venice" depicts a man looking through the keyhole of the Closet. (And there is also a wonderful supporting performance from gay icon Marisa Berenson.) [Austin Dale]
"Eddie Murphy: Delirious"
Okay, so this movie is a little different from everything else on the list. "Eddie Murphy Raw" is a live comedy film that isn't really known for the jokes as much as Murphy's ecstatically-received homophobic rant that begins with "Faggots aren't allowed to look at my ass when I'm on stage!" But after all, with all this new research coming out about the direct connection between homophobia and suppressed homosexuality, this could also just be a very gay movie about a very gay comedian. Look no further Murphy's wardrobe; nothing says "I am heterosexual" like a tight red leather pantsuit, unzipped to the navel. [Austin Dale]
"Far From Heaven"
Julianne Moore and Todd Haynes prove the second time's a charm with their sophomore collaboration (he first directed her in "Safe") "Far From Heaven." Done in the style of a Douglas Sirk ("All That Heaven Allows," "Imitation of Life") lush melodrama, "Far From Heaven" stars a never-better Moore as a 1950's housewife whose idyllic life begins to crumble after discovering her husband (an affecting Dennis Quaid) locked in a heated embrace with another man in his office, after hours. Being the 1950's, he expresses regret when confronted by his wife and agrees to see a psychiatrist to 'cure' his ways. Haynes does Sirk proud while elevating Sirk's style beyond its artifice to ground "Far From Heaven" in real, profound emotions. And Moore delivers the performance of her career. [Nigel M. Smith]
Arguably John Waters best film, there's nothing particularly LGBT about "Female Trouble" save for the fact that its directed by Waters and stars his drag queen muse, Divine. But considering the collective contribution of these iconic figures of American queer culture, that's more than enough to warrant inclusion of this or any of their films. The film gives us the extraordinary cinematic gift that is Dawn Davenport (Divine), one of the trashiest girls to ever hit the silver screen. Following her evolution from schoolgirl to fame-obsessed mass murderer, "Female Trouble" is a delicious, disgusting and bizarrely insightful riot. [Peter Knegt]
In the first film in Deepa Mehta's Elements trilogy, the Indian-Canadian filmmaker tells the story of two women who were not fulfilled in their marriages (played by Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das). The two couples are getting ready to start families in Delhi, but the women are having second thoughts about the contracts they entered into. To make up for the lack of love in their lives, the two find love in each other. Finding inspiration in Ismat Chugtai's pre-Parittion short story "The Quilt," Mehta shows two women fiercely in love with each other, ending with a "trial by fire" right out of the Ramayana. The film was released in the middle of the rise of the Hindu right, especially the ultra-conservative Shiv Sena, who protested the film when it debuted in India. [Bryce J. Renninger]
At first glance, Paul Morrissey's "Flesh" isn't a movie so much as a vintage beefcake editorial at 24 frames per second. The delicious, barely legal Joe Dallesandro is in every scene and spends much of his screen time completely nude. The film is composed of sharp jump cuts and formless, improvised scenes shot with no money on weekends. However, "Flesh," a day-in-the-life film about a bisexual hustler has a powerful immediacy, starkly representing an intersection of straight and gay worlds during the Stonewall era. It's a gutsy film for 1968. It's about gay sex, and it upends years of cinematic voyeurism with its central male nude. Plus, it's got a hilarious scene with Warhol's gorgeous trans superstars Candy Darling and Jackie Curtis. [Austin Dale]
Avant-garde filmmaker Jack Smith's 1963 masterpiece may have been too hot for New York City censors when it was first screened, but Smith went on to inspire a whole slew of filmmakers and writers. Former Village Voice writer J. Hoberman was just one huge fan, devoting many pages to him across the Manhattan weekly and books. The film, which shows drag queens and transvestites in close-up applying clothing and make-up, lying about naked and seducing each other and others, marks the debut of New American Cinema star/let Mario Montez (not to be confused with the Universal Pictures star Maria Montez, for whose acting Smith had the utmost admiration). [Bryce J. Renninger]
"Hedwig and the Angry Inch"
A rock musical about a bitter East German transgender singer with a one inch dick is bound to garner a cult following. Said film, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," has since coming out in 2001. Thankfully, the film's also great too. Before going all Oscar-friendly by directing Nicole Kidman to an Academy Award nomination in "Rabbit Hole," John Cameron Mitchell penned the book to the Off-Broadway sensation, that he later adapted into the trailblazing feature film of the same name. Mitchell proved himself to be a quadruple threat to be reckoned with his directorial debut by showing off some serious singing chops; acting his heart out as the titular heroine; directing with flair to spare; and writing a moving story of love and loss that's gone on to win over those who would normally balk at a film fronted by "slip of a girly boy." [Nigel M. Smith]
"I Want What I Want"
"I Want What I Want" is a very sincere early film about transsexuality. Unfortunately, "early" here means 1972, but I can't think of a film from this era - save perhaps "A Year With 13 Moons" - which is more brave in its depiction of the subject matter, even though I remain unconvinced that the filmmakers knew much about life as a transsexual. Anyway, "I Want What I Want" stars Anne Heywood as Roy, a real estate agent who decides to change his sex. It occasionally devolves into sexploitation, but its depiction of sexual transition remains one of the most complicated I've seen. [Austin Dale]
“The Kids Are All Right”
Lisa Cholodenko’s dramatic comedy captures a family in distress after the two teenage children of a lesbian couple seek out the sperm donor responsible for half of their chromosomes. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore play Nic and Jules, two moms who act like any other concerned parents with flaws (Nic drinks a little too much, Jules is a little too laidback) and Mark Ruffalo is Paul, their hunky, single sperm donor. Nic and Jules attempt to welcome the new masculine presence into their household, but Paul’s arrival wakes up a number of pent up issues beneath the surface of their marriage. The film is refreshingly frank in its depiction of same-sex parenting, acknowledging that same-sex couples face their own unique set of issues while raising a family. [Devin Lee Fuller]
"The Living End"
Gregg Araki's second feature film gave us a cinematic road trip with a glorious motto: "Fuck everything." That's what drives reckless hustler Luke (Mike Dytri) and timid film critic Jon (Craig Gilmore) -- both HIV positive -- as they head on a hedonistic, crazy journey brought on after they murder a homophobic cop. Sort of a surreal, queer and very indie (it cost just $22,000!) "Thelma & Louise," it's a raw and occasionally hilarious representation of the awesome work that Gregg Araki has offered the LGBT cinema canon. [Peter Knegt]
"Madonna: Truth Or Dare"
Madonna will always be the Queen of Pop, but for a while, she was also a genuine gay activist. "Truth Or Dare," her 1990 Blond Ambition tour documentary, is a self-aware self-portrait of the artist at the peak of her international fame. "Truth Or Dare" feels like a part of that moment when AIDS was a death sentence, and gay Americans were receiving more cultural visibility and even more backlash. Madonna's troupe of gay dancers are a major part of the film, and, in a bold political move, "Truth Or Dare" includes their homosexuality in the Blond Ambition Tour's theme of all-encompassing sexual liberation. [Austin Dale]
Gus Van Sant’s biopic about the life of Harvey Milk features a number of historical inaccuracies, so for a realistic account of Milk’s career, you’d be better off watching “The Life and Times of Harvey Milk.” But in spite of this, there is no denying the film is a moving portrayal of the gay rights movement. Sean Penn plays Milk as an impossible to dislike political activist who uses the system to fight for LGBT equality in 1970s San Francisco. The film also serves as an effective primer for a political movement, stressing the importance of forming coalitions and emphasizing how LGBT interests fit in with the middle class. [Devin Lee Fuller]
Roger Ebert was right when he hailed Charlize Theron's Academy Award-winning turn as Aileen Wuornos in "Monster," as "one of the greatest performances in the history of cinema." In "Monster," makeup and prosthetics do the seemingly impossible: they make Theron appear unglamorous. But Theron matches her crew's efforts by pulling off another seemingly impossible feat: she makes Wuornos an empathetic (albeit extremely troubled) figure. The crux of "Monster" centers on the doomed romance between Wuornos and Selby Wall (based on Wuornos' real life lover Tyria Moore and played by Christina Ricci in the film), who meet at the outset of the film and find their relationship severely tested when Wuornos, a prostitute, kills a client of hers after he rapes her. More than anything, "Monster" is an achingly sad character study that goes to show you how harsh life is for those living on the fringe of society. [Nigel M. Smith]
Sally Potter doesn't get enough credit for her bold feminist films. "Orlando" is the most well-respected of her oeuvre, and the acclaim is well-deserved. Tilda Swinton stars as the film's gender-bending titular character based on the book by Virginia Woolf with the same name with the same protagonist. The androgynous Orlando lives for centuries, reappearing in various historical epochs, dictating his/her story directly to the camera in exquisite sets and scandalous circumstances. [Bryce J. Renninger]
Though we may decry LGBT films for relying on cliches like the coming out genre, "Pariah" proved last year that there are still coming out stories to be told. The young woman Alike (the future superstar Adepero Oduye) in Dee Rees' first feature is impeccably realized. She is a woman at conflict with the various worlds she must encounter everyday: the lesbian world, the street world, the home world, the school world. Kim Wayans ("In Loving Color") surprises with her first major dramatic role as Alike's disapproving close-minded mother. [Bryce J. Renninger]
"Paris is Burning"
After winning major awards at Sundance and Berlin, Jennie Livingston's now-classic documentary became a major indie hit when it grossed nearly $4 million at the box office (an almost unheard of number at the time). Beautifully chronicling the "ball culture" of late 1980s New York City (and the many queer communities involved in it), its success shone light on a collection of powerful, authentic voices that never been given such a spotlight. And over twenty years later, it remains an imperative documentation of a fabulous moment in history, and amazing organizing tool for queer and trans youth today. [Peter Knegt]
Greta Garbo's most fascinating movie, "Queen Christina," came out just before the Hays Code put Hollywood cinema into a chastity belt, and it is indeed erotic. It's also campy, ludicrous, garish, formless, and weird. Made under the bisexual Garbo's creative control, the biopic of the androgynous Swedish queen forgoes historical accuracy and replaces it with gender-neutral lust. She leaves her gorgeous lady-in-waiting in her castle, and, incognito as a man, she woos a flamboyant Spanish courier, played by silent Casanova John Gilbert. "Queen Christina" has oodles of same-sex innuendo, drag-upon-drag, and, of course, the face that launched a thousand queer theory theses. [Austin Dale]
No list of queer cinema would be complete without a contribution from the late, great German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder. His final film -- 1982's "Querelle" -- capped off an epic career with an adpatation of Jean Genet's 1947 novel "Querelle de Brest." Following a hot sailor (Brad Davis) who ends up getting into some serious trouble (a lot of murder and even more sex) at a brothel in a French coastal town, it was one of the first films from an internationally renowed filmmaker to offer up a considerably uncompromising portrait of male homosexuality.
"Rebel Without a Cause"
What, you don't think this movie is gay? Think again. Or, better yet, watch it again and put a little more of your focus on Plato, played beautifully by the haunting Sal Mineo. Watch the way Plato looks at James Dean. I've always felt his feelings went beyond idolatry, but I can't decide whether the film paints them in visible, broad strokes or not. Perhaps it's because any viewer probably feels the same way gazing up at James Dean the screen. [Austin Dale]
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”
Initially a box office bomb upon its release in 1975, Richard O’Brien’s gender-bending rock musical became a cult phenomenon thanks to audience participation heavy midnight screenings and an outcast friendly message of “Don’t dream it. Be it.” The film finds a young couple getting lost in a rainstorm and taking shelter in a giant castle housed by mad scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry) and his bizarre servants. “Rocky Horror” takes the underlying homoeroticism of films like “Frankenstein” and brings it to the forefront as Frank tries to create his own man/sex object. Legions of fans still show up at screenings dressed as Curry’s “sweet transvestite” Frank N. Furter and Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick’s naïve couple Brad (“Asshole!”) and Janet (“Slut!”) to sing along, shout out their own lines, spray water pistols and throw toast. If you haven’t lost your “RHPS” virginity yet, there’s no time like the present. [Devin Lee Fuller]
“A Single Man”
Colin Firth’s titular single man, George, is a college professor whose longtime partner recently died in a car accident. Facing life alone is unbearable for George, so over the course of one day he plans his suicide. Tom Ford’s directorial debut is as impeccably art directed as one would expect from the fashion designer; he alternates from using a faded color palette to a bright one whenever George sees something (or someone) attractive in front of him. And while some may find the stylistic touches to be a little much, there’s nothing excessive about Firth’s pitch-perfect performance. While Firth won an Oscar the following year in “The King’s Speech,” his performance here is less showy and far more affecting. [Devin Lee Fuller]
Jonathan Caouette's 2003 documentary -- initially made for just $218.13 -- weaves together 20 years of Super 8 footage, VHS videotape, photographs and answering messages to tell the story of openly gay Caouette's life and realtionship with his mentally ill mother. A remarkable autobiography and portrait of an extraordinarily challenged mother-son dynamic, it was championed by John Cameron Mitchell and Gus Van Sant and ended up going from a $218.13 project to screening at Cannes and Sundance. [Peter Knegt]
"The Times of Harvey Milk"
If your only reference to Harvey Milk is Gus Van Sant's narrative film (also listed here), it's time to add to expand your references. Rob Epstein's Academy Award winning 1984 documentary is just one of many historical LGBT docs that should be required viewing for pretty much everyone ("Common Threads: Stories From The Quilt," "The Celluloid Closet," "Silverlake Life: The View From Here," and recent additions "We Were Here" and "How To Survive a Plague" are among the many examples not on this list). The film details the heroic life and tragic life of openly gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk. And while Van Sant's film did an excellent job at dramaticizing the same story, there's nothing better than the real thing. [Peter Knegt]
When Marlon Riggs made "Tongues Untied" with funds from the NEA and the film landed on PBS' POV lineup, he unwittingly provided the kindling for the fire kept blazing by the nuts leading public funding of the arts. Pat Buchanan and Jessie Helms came out slugging against Riggs' 1989 experimental documentary that explored a wide range of issues pertaining to gay black men in the late 80's. The legendary poet Essex Hemphill is just one of the many men that join Riggs to make this a documentary that is still required viewing. [Bryce J. Renninger]
"Touch of Pink"
Before he made (oh yes!) the MTV release "How She Move," Ian Iqbal Rashid made two quite brilliant films about South Asian gay cinephiles. Rashid's 1998 short "Surviving Sabu" is a tender look at fatherhood through a father and son's mutual star worship of Hollywood star Sabu. His "Touch of Pink," though is an absolutely delightful feature-length look at a gay man's (Jimi Mistry) relationship with his mother -- and the ghost of Cary Grant (played impeccably by "Twin Peaks" cop Kyle McLachlan). [Bryce J. Renninger]
We'll admit, the set up for "Trick" sounds like a dreadful sitcom on paper, but thanks to a surprising script, stellar supporting work from Tori Spelling (yes, really), and a winning lead in Christian Campbell (brother to Neve), "Trick" is a total treat. The Sundance entry concerns one long night in the lives of Gabriel (Campbell), an aspiring Broadway composer and Mark (John Paul Pitoc), a go-go dancer, as they try to find a place to hookup. Being a romantic comedy, plenty of mayhem ensues thanks to Gabriel's selfish roommate and his overbearing best friend, Katherine (Spelling), another Broadway hopeful. Will the boys ever find a spot to get it on? Watch, and find out. [Nigel M. Smith]
"Velvet Goldmine" is a lot of things at once: A remake of "Citizen Kane," a Ken Russell-inspired rock musical, David Bowie fan fiction. It's also an erotic gay love story in which the sexually liberation of glam rock fuels both a collaboration and a consummation. Brian Slade and Curt Wild are stand-ins for David Bowie and Iggy Pop, respectively, and played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Ewan McGregor, they ooze sex appeal despite evading gendered labels. Todd Haynes' vision of the glam-rock 70's is a sensory-overloaded oasis where nothing is off limits. [Austin Dale]
Andrew Haigh’s second feature follows a one-night stand that develops into something more over the course of one weekend. Russell (Tom Cullen), a gay man who spends most of his time trying to fit in with his straight friends, meets Glen (Chris New), an out-and-proud gay man who doesn’t see any reason to fit in. They discuss their conflicting ideas about gay men in a straight world over the course of three days, occasionally having sex and taking drugs. The film is at times painfully true to the queer experience, but it is also relatable to anyone who has developed a strong emotional connection in a short period of time. Haigh cements himself as a director to watch. [Devin Lee Fuller]
As anyone who's seen "Wilde" knows, Stephen Fry was born to play Oscar Wilde. The English actor not only bears an eery resemblance to the legendary poet, he's also a published playwright himself; has several novels under his belt; considers himself a poet; and is an out and proud homosexual. "Wilde" is by no means the perfect on-screen account of Wilde's life -- it's a tad unwieldy and is not all that emotionally involving -- but Fry's wry turn makes it well worth catching, as does the exemplary supporting cast that includes a young (and very naked) Jude Law, Vanessa Redgrave, Jennifer Ehle and Michael Sheen. [Nigel M. Smith]
Wu Tsang has taken the art world by storm, and his new film, about the party, Wildness, he used to host with friends and the bar it took place in, The Silver Platter, is a queer classic even before it's been officially released. When I first saw the film at MoMA's Doc Fortnight, I rushed home to write my heart out. "Wildness" is a beyond excellent film showing a contemporary queer sensibility that usually sticks to literature, photography and performance art, rarely making its way to film. Luckily Tsang took his story to the big screen. [Bryce J. Renninger]
Set against the backdrop of the 1980s AIDS crisis, "Zero Patience" was released to considerable controversy (and the tagline "a John Greyson Movie Musical") back in 1993. Debunkng the myth of "Patient Zero" - the Quebecois flight attendant infamously blamed for bringing AIDS to North America in Randy Shilts' book "And The Band Played On" -- the multi-layered and post-modernist film blends remarkably catchy musical numbers (!) and unexpected comic relief with substantial political and social commentary. [Peter Knegt]