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Advances in gay rights have been hard-won, and there’s still much work ahead, but Sunday presents an opportunity to embrace all the progress to-date. It’s a day for Pride. 

Gay-themed movies have been gaining traction for years, though some of the finest still don’t get the recognition they deserve. Here are several titles new to my list that merit a wider audience.  

4. being 17(2016)

Damien lives with his mother Marianne, a doctor, while his father is on a tour of duty abroad. He is bullied by Thomas, whose mother is ill. The boys find themselves living together when Marianne invites Thomas to come and stay with them.

Director:André Téchiné | Stars:Sandrine Kiberlain, Kacey Mottet Klein, Corentin Fila, Alexis Loret

7. (2015)

On Manhattan’s gilded Upper East Side, a young gay painter is torn between an obsession with his infamous socialite best friend and a promising new romance with an older foreign concert pianist.

Director:Joey Kuhn | Stars:Jonathan Gordon, Jason Ralph, Haaz Sleiman, Britt Lower

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13. come undone(2000)

Mathieu, 18, spends the summer at his mother’s summer house, in Brittany. On the beach, he meets Cédric, a boy his age. A love-story begins between the two boys.

Director:Sébastien Lifshitz | Stars:Jérémie Elkaïm, Stéphane Rideau, Marie Matheron, Dominique Reymond

22. from beginning to end(2009)

Two brothers develop a very close relationship as they are growing up in an idyllic and happy family. When they are young adults their relationship becomes very intimate, romantic, and sexual.

Director:Aluizio Abranches | Stars:Júlia Lemmertz, Fábio Assunção, Jean Pierre Noher, Louise Cardoso

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24. nico and dani(2000)

A Spanish coming of age story focusing on the antics of two 17 year olds, who have a posh beach house almost all to themselves one summer. This is also a summer of sexual awakenings.

Director:Cesc Gay | Stars:Fernando Ramallo, Jordi Vilches, Marieta Orozco, Esther Nubiola

27. boys love(2006 video)

Boys Love, the first film released in 2006, tells the story of Taishin Mamiya, a magazine editor who meets and interviews a young model, Noeru Kisaragi, and becomes attracted to him. Their … See full summary »

Director:Kôtarô Terauchi | Stars:Yoshikazu Kotani, Takumi Saitoh, Hiroya Matsumoto, Masashi Taniguchi

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36. parting glances(1986)

As Michael and Robert, a gay couple in New York, prepare for Robert’s departure for a two-year work assignment in Africa, Michael must face Robert’s true motives for leaving while dealing … See full summary »

Director:Bill Sherwood | Stars:John Bolger, Richard Ganoung, Steve Buscemi, Adam Nathan

47. the david dance(2014)

David, the host of a local gay radio show in Buffalo, New York, struggles with self-doubt when his single sister asks him to be the father figure for her soon to be adopted Brazilian child…. See full summary »

Director:Aprill Winney | Stars:Don Scime, Guy Adkins, Antoinette LaVecchia, Jordan Baker

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48. from zero to i love you(2019)

A gay man, whose fear of intimacy leads him to continually fall for married guys, and a closeted married man meet, forcing both men to confront what they really want in their romantic lives.

Director:Doug Spearman | Stars:Al Sapienza, Richard Lawson, Leslie Zemeckis, Blake Boyd

55. in the grayscale(2015)

Bruno, an architect with a great life, is hired to build an iconic landmark, and as he works with a gay history teacher named Fer, an unexpected and intense romance starts to blossom.

Director:Claudio Marcone | Stars:Francisco Celhay, Emilio Edwards, Daniela Ramírez, Matías Torres

Agonizing emotional struggle between hetero, stable family situation and desire to embrace repressed homosexual desires. Impacts prof and personal life and is never settled in this enigmatic, but well crafted and acted film.

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56. (2017)

Actor Jae-Ha (Park Sung-Woong) is cast for the two-man stage play "Unchain." Also cast for "Unchain" is idol star Young-Woo (Oh Seung-Hoon). Young-Woo is not enthused about appearing in the… See full summary »

Director:Pang Eun-jin | Stars:Park Sung-woong, Seung-Hoon Oh, Seung-ah Yoon

Hetero renowned actor who emerges self in role, is hired to star in a two man gay play. Other actor is a pop star with problems. Eventually are attracted to each other.

58. paris 05:59: théo & hugo(2016)

Théo and Hugo encounter each other‘s bodies in a sex club. They talk, things blur into the haziness of unbridled desire, then take shape for a moment as their gaze meets before they resume … See full summary »

Directors:Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau | Stars:Mario Fanfani, Geoffrey Couët, François Nambot, Bastien Gabriel

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61. giant little ones(2018)

Two popular teen boys, best friends since childhood, discover their lives, families, and girlfriends dramatically upended after an unexpected incident occurs on the night of a 17th birthday party.

Director:Keith Behrman | Stars:Josh Wiggins, Darren Mann, Taylor Hickson, Maria Bello

65. geography club(2013)

At Goodkind High School, a group of students with varying sexual orientations form an after-school club as a discreet way to share their feelings and experiences.

Director:Gary Entin | Stars:Cameron Deane Stewart, Justin Deeley, Meaghan Martin, Wesley Eure

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“love is the devil: study for a portrait of francis bacon” (1998)

This caustic, stinging biopic, set in "swinging sixties" London, casts a harsh, unsympathetic light on Francis Bacon (Derek Jacobi), the British painter renowned for his raw, almost grotesque imagery. The story begins when handsome small-time crook George Dyer (Daniel Craig) breaks into Bacon’s studio, and ends up being seduced by his intended victim. Bacon is initially enthralled by the raw sexuality of his new lover, but as his feelings cool, the unschooled younger man becomes an annoyance. The emotionally abused Dyer then turns to drugs and alcohol, eventually reeling out of control.

“making the boys” (2009)

It was impossible to predict the effect Mart Crowley’s Off-Broadway play, “The Boys in the Band” would have on the public during the transformative 1960s. In fact, it became a smash hit (later on Broadway), and its movie adaptation was the first mainstream, gay-themed Hollywood film. However, controversy arose over whether it actually enhanced society’s understanding of gay life or merely perpetuated hateful stereotypes. Featuring evocative clips and period footage, this documentary reignites the debate forty years later, via incisive interviews with artists, writers, critics, and Crowley himself.

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“stranger by the lake” (2013)

Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps), is searching for love – or at least sex- at a bucolic summer cruising spot along a lake in rural France. He notices the hunky but mysterious Michel (Christophe Paou), and is immediately attracted. When Franck surreptitiously witnesses Michel drowning his lover in the lake, the crime only fuels Franck’s desire. The two finally meet and start a torrid affair, which continues even as they become suspects in the murder investigation. An unnerving study in irrational, erotic obsession, this daring, sexually explicit film shapes up as a first-rate thriller, irrespective of your sexual preference.

There are more gay-themed films to choose from on my list, and any one is sure to enhance your own Pride festivities.

What titles come to mind when you think of Pride Sunday? Let me know on Facebook.  

While mainstream hollywood continues to catch up when it comes to lgbtq representation in blockbuster movies, there are plenty of directors out there highlighting issues within the gay community through slick visuals.

For now, some of the most compelling and hard-hitting LGBTQ cinema exists in short films. From tackling the homophobic world of football, to a teacher exploring the sex party scene in New York City, they are touching upon real life emotions that your local Odeon is probably little way off from showing anytime soon.

Gay Times have rounded up just five of the best gay short films out there that you can watch online.

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