Gay film 2016


An end-of-year round-up of 6 of the best LGBTQ films released in 2016 from around the world

While some gay movies just seem to perpetuate stereotypes, I still find them interesting. Sometimes it’s the only way to discover certain elements of gay culture. We’re a diverse group, encapsulated under a number of different letters (LGBTQIA…). But, in gay films, it’s often difficult to find myself represented—my own reality as a twenty-something gay man. Life for LGBT individuals has changed rapidly over the past few years—increased visibility, increased human rights and increased acceptance. And with that, we’ve seen a rapid rise in new types of gay culture.

Gay movies, however, don’t always portray these new identities of being gay today. Too often they look back at the past, at the struggles and challenges and the advocacy. So when I stumble on a film that shows more closely the real-life experience of being gay today, I get excited. I’m excited to see myself, my identity, my experience on a big screen. I’m excited to see my feelings, my emotions portrayed in a way I can understand. Movies are often a window to our world—showing us stories that we can relate back to our own emotions. And, for me, a lot of gay movies don’t do that.

We’ve reached a peak in LGBTQ cinema—with many gay themes being portrayed in mainstream Hollywood productions. But there are still outliers, still aspects of queer culture which have been effectively whitewashed or hid under the sheets. Thankfully, a number of artists, producers and movie-makers are still working to show all the unique aspects of our gay world.

As LGBT equality has become more mainstream, so has the entertainment industry—with more openly gay characters (and out gay actors!) on TV and film than ever before. Topics are becoming more dynamic and interesting, too. A gay film today doesn’t have to touch on the HIV/AIDS crisis in America (Philadelphia) or be overly camp (To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar) to be a gay film anymore. Let’s look at six fresh takes from alternative queer cinema.

John cho: gay kiss was cut from star trek beyond

The actor, who plays Sulu in the sci-fi sequel, says a ‘welcome-home kiss’ was edited out of the final version

John Cho has claimed that a “welcome-home kiss’ between two male characters was removed from the sci-fi sequel Star Trek Beyond.

In the big-budget adventure, Cho’s character Sulu is revealed to have a daughter with his male partner, but Cho says that there was originally supposed to be more affection.

“There was a kiss that I think is not there any more,” he said in an interview with Vulture. “It wasn’t like a make-out session. We’re at the airport with our daughter. It was a welcome-home kiss. I’m actually proud of that scene, because it was pretty tough.”

Simon Pegg, who co-wrote the script, insists that the representation of the gay couple is well-handled and might be explored further in future films.

“It’s not coy,” he said. “You have to modulate in such a way that it doesn’t become a big thing. That was one of the reasons why we made it an existing character because it felt like part of the fabric. If the story evolves in the next film to feature his personal relationship in some way then of course it will, but if it doesn’t then it won’t because it’s all about the good of the story rather than doing it for the sake of it.”

The decision to address Sulu’s sexuality in the film has had a mixed response. George Takei, who originally played the character in Gene Roddenberry’s TV show, was both “delighted” with the decision to include an LGBT character in the film but disappointed it was Sulu.

“While I understand that we are in an alternate timeline with the new Trek movies, for me it seemed less than necessary to tinker with an existing character in order to fulfill Gene’s hope of a truly diverse Trek universe,” he said in a Facebook post.

This summer has also seen a gay couple feature in Independence Day: Resurgence and Kate McKinnon plays a lesbian character in Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot, which the director claims was also neutered.

“I hate to be coy about it,” Feig said in an interview with The Daily Beast. “But when you’re dealing with the studios and that kind of thing … If you know Kate at all she’s this kind of pansexual beast where it’s just like everybody who’s around her falls in love with her and she’s so loving to everybody she’s around. I wanted to let that come out in this character.”

Star trek character hikaru sulu revealed as gay

The character, played by John Cho in the current franchise, will be shown as having a same sex partner in the forthcoming Star Trek Beyond.

Cho told the Herald Sun the move was a nod to George Takei, the gay actor who played the character in the original 1960s television series.

The decision was taken by British star Simon Pegg, who wrote the screenplay.

Cho said: "I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicise one’s personal orientations."

Takei has previously said he had to keep his homosexuality secret when he originally worked on Star Trek in order to continue working in television.

"If I wanted to work as an actor I had to keep it a secret," he said last year.

"Back then I couldn’t marry a white person – that was against the law here, miscegenation. But now I am married to a white dude so we have changed."

Star Trek has a track record for breaking new ground – in 1968 the show famously featured the first interracial kiss to be screened on US television.

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11 of the best queer movies of 2016

In a positive sign for queer cinema at the end of a very strong year, writer/director Barry Jenkins’ critically lauded and commercially successful Moonlight – which depicts three defining chapters in a young black man’s life – has scored six Golden Globe nominations, just behind La La Land’s seven. 

Starring Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight also took home four trophies from the Gotham Independent Film Awards, including Best Feature and Best Screenplay. It’s already garnering Oscar buzz in what could be the year #OscarsSoWhite gets at least temporarily shelved. 

While Australian audiences will have to wait until late January to get a look for themselves, we take a look back at 11 of the best queer movies to make it to our shores in 2016, from comic lesbian erotica to gay male orgies, family drama to teen romance. 

China bans depictions of gay people on television

Content that ‘exaggerates dark side of society’ is banned from TV – from homosexuality to adultery, showing cleavage and even reincarnation

The Chinese government has banned all depictions of gay people on television, as part of a cultural crackdown on “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content”.

Chinese censors have released new regulations for content that “exaggerates the dark side of society” and now deem homosexuality, extramarital affairs, one night stands and underage relationships as illegal on screen.

Last week the Chinese government pulled a popular drama, Addicted, from being streamed on Chinese websites as it follows two men in gay relationships, causing uproar among the show’s millions of viewers.

The government said the show contravened the new guidelines, which state that “No television drama shall show abnormal sexual relationships and behaviours, such as incest, same-sex relationships, sexual perversion, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual violence, and so on.”

The ban also extends to smoking, drinking, adultery, sexually suggestive clothing, even reincarnation. China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television told television producers it would constantly monitor TV channels to ensure the new rules were strictly adhered to.

The clampdowncultural censorship in China since Xi Jinping came to power in November 2012. In December 2014, censors stopped a TV show, The Empress of China, from being broadcast because the actors showed too much cleavage. The show only returned to screens once the breasts had been blurred out.

In September 2015, a documentary about young gay Chinese called Mama Rainbow was taken down from all Chinese websites.

The new regulations have angered gay activists in China, who have fought for two decades to overcome the substantial stigma in their country against homosexuality. It was only decriminalised in 1997 and was only taken off the official list of mental illnesses in 2001.

In November, one Chinese campaigner took the government to court over its description of homosexuality as a “psychological disorder” in textbooks.

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Ellen page on hollywood: ‘now i’m gay, i can’t play a straight person?’

Oscar-nominated actor who came out in 2014 attacks pace of industry change on diversity, and says new film Freeheld mirrors her own journey

Ellen Page has accused Hollywood of double standards on homosexuality, arguing that she should be able to play roles of any sexuality despite having recently come out as gay.

The Oscar-nominated star of Juno and Hard Candy said she had been asked if she feared becoming pigeonholed after signing up for a number of gay-themed roles over the past two years. However, she also conceded that Hollywood was slowly improving in its attitudes to diversity.

“Zachary Quinto [of Star Trek fame] is out, and he stars in one of the biggest blockbuster franchises,” the 28-year-old Canadian actor told Elle magazine. “I have four projects coming up – all gay roles. People ask if I’m concerned about getting pigeonholed. No one asks: ‘Ellen, you’ve done seven straight roles in a row – shouldn’t you shake it up and do something queer?’

“There’s still that double standard. I look at all the things I’ve done in movies: I’ve drugged a guy, tortured someone, become a roller-derby star overnight. But now I’m gay, I can’t play a straight person?”

Page said her six-year battle to bring gay rights drama Freeheld to the big screen had informed her decision to come out in February 2014.

“It was part of it,” she said. “What blows my mind is how my own personal journey paralleled the development of that movie. It felt wildly inappropriate to be playing this character as a closeted person. Coming out was a long process, though.”

Freeheld debuted on the festival circuit last year but is getting a UK release on 19 February. Once tipped as an Oscars contender, Peter Sollett’s film has suffered from middling reviews, with the Guardian’s Nigel M Smith calling the film “shockingly trite” at Toronto film festival last September. The real life drama centres on a dying New Jersey detective (Julianne Moore) who hits an administrative roadblock after she tries to arrange for her pension rights to pass to her domestic partner, who happens to be a woman (Page).

Page’s comments come after Ian McKellen said on Monday that homophobia was as much of an issue in Hollywood as racism. McKellen expressed sympathy with black actors angry at the Academy’s failure to nominate a single actor from a black or ethnic minority background for an Oscar for a second year running, but he said the issue was a wider one.

“No openly gay man has ever won the Oscar; I wonder if that is prejudice or chance,” said the 76-year-old two-time nominee. “My speech has been in two jackets … ‘I’m proud to be the first openly gay man to win the Oscar.’ I’ve had to put it back in my pocket twice.”

Who is adam?

I quit my job as a graphic designer to travel the world, writing this blog along the way. I’ve lived in Berlin, Tel Aviv, London, Sydney, Boston, and Dallas—but since early 2018, I live in New York City (Brooklyn, duh).

On my travel blog, you’ll find gay stories, nightlife tips, photos, and all-too-personal essays from my adventures around the world. Read how Iceland changed my life and set me on a path as a professional travel blogger & award-winning writer.

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7 other people

Written and directed by SNL’s Chris Kelly, Other People is a blackly comic drama about downbeat young gay writer David (Jesse Plemons) who returns home to care for his dying, cancer-stricken mother (a fabulously vivacious Molly Shannon, until the bitter end).

Hollywood films about death often try to reinvent the wheel, relying too heavily on humor, or avoiding excessive emotion in attempt to not appear cliched. Kelly, having lived the experience, instead offers a straightforward, unfussy representation. Other People is honest, uncalculated and full of love.

6 holding the man

The latest adaptation of the late Tim Conigrave’s seminal 90s memoir – about he and his life partner’s experience of HIV in the late 80s and early 90s – is beautifully tasteful.

Released in 2015 in its native Australia, but making its impact in Europe this year, this exquisite love story boasts impressive breadth and depth. We first meet Tim and John, played luminously by Ryan Corr and Craig Stott respectively, as 70s schoolboys. Of course, they lock eyes on a football pitch. In one of the film’s only flaws, both wear what appear to be painfully bad wigs.

They soar out of the closet and enjoy a passionate love affair that spans decades. They defy meddling parents, homophobic friends, HIV diagnoses and the distance and time imposed when life drags two halves of a couple in different directions.

However, when Craig’s contracts cancer as a result of his HIV, his health swiftly deteriorates. From here on in, Tim rarely leaves his side, and the utter devotion for the man he holds is engrained right there in the writing and the acting. Like Other People, it sounds like a depressing watch, but it’s not – it’s inspiring.

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5 king cobra

His LGBTI filmography includes Milk, Howl and I Am Michael. But the ever-ambiguous James Franco out-gays himself (and then some) in this fantastically pulpy and sleazy gay porn drama, which was probably the most hotly-anticipated LGBTI film of the year.

It gained notoriety when its subject, Brent Corrigan – a.k.a. Sean Lockhart, the ‘adult industry personality‘ who rose to gay porn fame while underage, posing as an 18-year-old – accused it of ‘bastardising‘ his life. In truth, it’s so silly, and takes so many liberties, it barely qualifies as a biopic at all. Plus, Brent comes off quite well, ending up the only likeable character with any moral compass.

Fearless former Disney star Garrett Clayton is our magnetically sexy protagonist. Christian Slater offers dramatic heft as his lonely, doomed porn producer mentor Bryan Kocis (named Stephen in the film). Meanwhile Franco plays deranged rival gay porn producer Joe. He boasts explosive chemistry with Keegan Allen as his dimwit boyfriend Harlow, himself a rising porn star who escorts on the side.

The movie underperformed, earning mixed-to-negative reviews. Indeed, it’s probably not an awards contender. One major flaw is the awkward tonal shift from immature, exaggerated humour to dark drama, when one of the characters meets a grisly end.

But any gay man who’s even remotely aware of Corrigan’s existence will find it compelling. And we loved its nimble pace and absurd, no-holds-barred depiction of sexuality. (Case in point, James Franco screaming: ‘GIVE ME THAT BIG DICK!’ with suspicious intensity…).

4 the pass

Openly gay British actor Russell Tovey landed himself in hot water last year when, in an interview, he patted himself on the back for playing straight so convincingly. But his stunning performance in intimate sports drama The Pass – as a deeply closeted premiership footballer holed up in a hotel room at three different stages of his life – casts his comments in a different light.

More to the point, Tovey’s past characters have been very one note: ‘cheeky chappie’. (Including his well-received turn as Patrick’s boss-turned-boyfriend in Looking, when you think about it). At first, it’s more of the same in The Pass.

But then Tovey pulls the rug out from under you by imbuing archetypal Essex boy Joe with palpable, almost unbearable grief, regret and foreboding as he gets older.

Arinzé Kene is equally as amazing as fellow football fanatic Ade. In part one, over the space of one night, he is Joe’s roommate, competitor, friend and, ultimately, lover. Reunited ten years later (in a far flashier hotel, owing to Joe’s glittering career), Ade is working as a plumber and in a happy, committed gay relationship. Joe, on the other hand, is in a different place.

Some will question the simplicity of the plot and regimented structure. (It was previously a play). But so much emotion is harnessed with so little.

And yes, both Kene and Tovey are mostly topless throughout. And yes, their physiques beggar belief. But don’t expect a salacious gay porn fantasy. If that’s what you’re after, see King Cobra. There are no sex scenes here. And when at one point the camera does explore the guys’ entwined, naked bodies, it’s a movingly beautiful – and sad – moment.

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2 the handmaiden

This mindblowing, visionary epic about a secret lesbian love affair is the artistic antidote to Looking. The magnum opus of South Korean director Park Chan-wook (whose 2013 English language thriller Stoker was written by Wentworth Miller and starred Nicole Kidman) seamlessly balances romance, erotica, mystery, crime, comedy, horror and even a touch of trashy melodrama.

And all with a sprinkling of politics and a strong, pervasive queer agenda to boot. The cherry on top is some light gender play at the end.

It clocks in at two hours and 20 minutes, split into three 45 minute sections. But the multilayered and unpredictable plot calls for it. This is a film that rewards patience. But even if you can’t keep track of what’s going on, the resplendent style more than entertains.

In Japanese-occupied Korea in the 40s, we meet sprightly master pickpocket Sook-hee (a delightful Kim Tae-ri). She is hired by seedy conman Count Fujiwarato (the dashing Ha Jung-woo) to pose as a humble handmaiden to a childlike, overprotected heiress.

Cue Lady Hideko (the enigmatic Kim Min-hee), rattling around her grand, possibly haunted mansion like a young, stylish Miss Havisham.

The wily pair conspire for the Count to marry the Lady, have her declared insane and take her money. But things aren’t all they seem. And matters only get more complicated when Sook-hee and Lady Hideko fall in love.

Throw in Cho Jin-woong as Hideko’s abusive, perverted Uncle, and you have a very, very adult fairytale. The most explicit gay sex scenes in this list appear here. But they aren’t as gruelling or crude as in, say, 2013’s Blue Is The Warmest Colour. For the most part, they’re elegantly beautiful. But then again, even the scenes of violence here are beguiling – such is Chan-wook’s commitment to mind-bogglingly beautiful visuals. Amazing.

1 moonlight

The last time a film with a prominent LGBTI plot truly enjoyed Oscar glory was Brokeback Mountain almost 12 years ago. But could Moonlight succeed where even Brokeback failed, by wining Best Picture?

It’s possible – this movie is a humbling masterpiece. Like The Pass, it’s comprised of three portraits of a man struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. These wildly different stages of life are played by different actors.

Like Looking, it has a gentle authenticity and languid pace. Like The Handmaiden, it has an epic scale. But it rises above all of the aforementioned with its flawless execution.

Directed by Barry Jenkins and based in an impoverished Miami neighborhood, this sensitive drama concerns the intensely introverted Chiron. We first meet him as a bullied and apparently effeminate child, played by Alex Hibbert.

Raised in poverty by his troubled but loving single mother (Naomie Harris), he finds solace in the home of kindly drug dealer Juan (House of Cards’ Mahershala Ali, always a powerful screen presence) and his partner Teresa (an irresistibly warm Janelle Monae).

The action then flashes forward to Chiron as an adolescent (Ashton Saunders). Here, we find him corroded by his mother’s drug addiction and prostitution, plus his own burgeoning homosexuality. A profoundly romantic encounter with his only friend Kevin leads to disaster. Chiron further withdraws.

When we meet him a third time, as an adult (Trevante Rhodes), he’s an Atlanta drug dealer. His masculine identity is overwhelming. However, when Kevin gets in touch out of the blue, Chiron returns to Miami in search of love and redemption.

This film boasts perfect performances across the board. Sewn together, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Naomie Harris is a revelation as Chiron’s mother in a savage, Oscar-worthy performance, filmed in a matter of days during her Spectre press tour last year.

All the actors playing Chiron and Kevin are flawless. But the film really belongs to the adult Chiron. Reunited with the ghosts of his past, Rhodes communicates power and vulnerability as one.

What makes Moonlight invaluable is the empathy with which it treats its protagonist. I’ve been out since I was 15. At times, I’ve struggled to understand why any grown up would choose to hide their sexuality.

But after what feels like 20 years in Chiron’s company – the shaky camerawork makes you feel like you’re right there with him – his emotional deadlock makes perfect sense. It’s scary.

Chiron’s sexuality is so secret, it’s rarely addressed on screen. When it is, it’s momentary and mostly sub-textual. More tangible are the obstacles of race and class he faces. An inattentive viewer might think they were watching another film entirely. So subtle is the message about accepting who you are, that it’ll seep into your soul without your realizing.

As such, Moonlight has universal appeal. The performances are so compelling that I deign anyone not to identify with Chiron, regardless of their sexuality. Because Moonlight breaks open and evolves what an LGBTI film is – to the point where it barely is one. Astonishing.

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Jonathan (2016, germany)

This 2016 German movie by Polish director Piotr J. Lewandowski tells the story of Jonathan, a 24-year-old who lives and takes care of his father, a cancer patient in his last days. Unlike most gay films from today, this doesn’t tell the story of young love, but of a long, lost love. The plot follows Jonathan’s relationship with his sick father after an old friend of his father’s reappears, shaking up the family. The drama causes turmoil, and suddenly, the family secrets began unraveling, and father and son are both forced to face reality. Set in a rural German town and with a beautiful use of light and cinematography, the movie provides an alternative perspective on the popular “coming out” storyline.

Mãe só há uma (don’t call me son) (2016, brazil)

This heartwarming Brazilian movie takes us on a complicated journey touching on themes of identity and guilt. Pierre (Felipe), a teenager and musician, discovers a secret: his mother is not his mother; he was stolen as a young baby. Forced to move to his new parents’ home, he must come to face reality with an existence he never knew. The new family brings with it a stricter set of rules, and Felipe rebels, accentuating his gender and sexuality as he feels comfortable. The film is a powerful depiction of the painful process of growing up, of finding who you are and of demanding the world to respect your differences. Directed and written by Anna Muylaert and debuting Naomi Nero in the lead role, this movie will both break your heart and make you laugh.

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Nunca vas a estar solo (you’ll never be alone) (2016, chile)

A deep and powerful film about the struggle of being a gay teenager and the real dangers affecting thousands of LGBTQ people in Latin America, this heart-wrenching story takes place in Chile. Directed by Alex Anwandter, the film tells the story of Pablo, a gay teenager exploring his sexuality, and his father Juan, who works in a mannequin factory. In addition to touching on the father-son relationship, the movie takes a dark turn when Pablo becomes the victim of a terrible homophobic attack that sends him to the hospital. His father then finds himself the protagonist in a struggle against the world of legal bureaucracy and medical institutions while trying to care for his son’s well-being. The search for justice is complicated, and in the end, it’s touchingly powerful to discover what people are capable of doing to secure the best for their loved ones.

Who’s gonna love me now (2016, israel/uk)

This documentary tells the story of Saar, who’s living in London, and his Jewish Orthodox family living in Israel. After moving to London, Saar discover he is HIV positive and struggles for acceptance as a gay man in a foreign city. While he finds some sense of belonging and comfort as a member of the London Gay Men’s Chorus, the acceptance of his own family is hard to get. The documentary deals more with psychological issues such as solitude and self-esteem, instead of focusing on the corporal medical reality of those who live with HIV. The film prominently features a trip to Israel where Saar confronts not only his religious beliefs but cultural stereotypes. The uplifting end of the movie brings hope to those who watch it and restores our faith in human communication and the power of love. The documentary is the work of directors Tomer Heymann and Barak Heymann.

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Theo et hugo dans le meme bateau (paris 05:59) (2016, france)

Simultaneously the sexiest and the sweetest gay film I’ve seen, Theo et Hugo dans le meme bateau (it’s English title: Paris 05:59), captures my feelings and my attitudes of being a gay millennial. Here’s how the movie unfolds. A guy, Theo (played by Geoffrey Couet), is alone in a room full of naked men until he makes eye contact with Hugo (played by Francois Nambot). The room falls apart in their eyes—and they move to one another, ultimately leaving the sex club together, holding hands. Theo is both shy and quiet, while Hugo rambles on about this special feeling, this attachment, this almost-love. Little quips about how beautiful the other one is as they walk to one of the city bike rentals in Paris. It’s after 4 a.m. (as a timestamp on the screen shows) and the streets are mostly empty. It’s Paris at night. Along the way, they meet other strange and slightly surreal individuals from the night. As the night escalates, ultimately to 5:59 a.m., the emotions these two boys feel for one another fluctuate. There are tender and sweet moments and ones where they’re angry or scared—all captured with a beautiful soundtrack, close edits and touches of familiarity.

In short, it’s a film about a budding romance between two boys who meet, first have sex, and then a relationship (possibly) grows out of it. They reveal secrets as if they’re fast friends, they share hopes and fears—but only after they’ve already had sex. The film follows them as they get a rapid HIV test, discuss PrEP and PEP, talking of family and past relationships. It’s all so real, so authentic. And so non-judgemental. The relationship is real because it’s backwards. They don’t share their intimate feelings until the end of the film, but it’s at the beginning of the movie, the beginning of their relationship, when they first connect sexually.

Love is all you need? (2016, usa)

Directed by K. Rocco Shields, the film takes place in a small middle American town where the star quarterback of the local university is outed for being a heterosexual. Her forbidden love affair with a male journalist rocks the town to its very core, setting off a series of catastrophic events that forever change the community.

The film jumps around a lot, moving between timelines showing the experiences of growing up different at various ages. I found it surprisingly difficult to follow who was gay and who wasn’t and why this or that might be considered bad in this fictional world—not at the fault of the filmmakers, but of my own pre-conceived version of the world we live in. It was confusing and challenging to understand a world so different from the one we inhabit here and now. And, ultimately, that’s what I enjoyed most about the movie—it was so familiar but so different. Love is All You Need? is a film that our allies and heterosexual friends need to see. It’s an important reminder of the challenges we might face as queer individuals in a non-queer world.

Looking for a place to stay? I use where you can easily compare hotel room rates and prices. Please note some posts do make me some money but I never sacrifice my integrity in exchange for a favorable review. Read the full disclosure policy.

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Die traditionellen koreanischen Badehäuser von Los Angeles bilden die ungewöhnliche Kulisse für die Geschichte Davids, eines jungen Mannes, der auf der Suche ist in der nächtlichen Welt Koreatowns, zwischen Neon-beleuchteten Restaurants und schrillen Karaoke-Bars und jenen verlockend heimlichen Angeboten, die so manches Dampfbad mit sich dieser Spas sind Tag und Nacht geöffnet, und versteckt im Ruheraum oder in einer verdunkelten Ecke treffen sich Blicke und Berührungen, die nach mehr suchen als einem Ort der Körperpflege. Als David mit ein paar gleichaltrigen College-Kumpels um die Häuser zieht und sie ihren massiven Rausch wegsaunieren möchten, passiert es… Davids Blick bleibt zu lange am muskulösen Oberschenkel seines Hetero-Freundes hängen! Wohin mit der aufkeimenden Lust? David beschließt, in einem All Male Spa anzuheuern… Melancholisch erotisch und liebevoll erzählt.Auszeichnungen / Festivalteilnahmen (Auswahl):- ”Sonderpreis der Jury – Joe Seo” – Sundance Filmfestival 2016 – USA– ”Großer Preis der Jury” – Outfest 2016 – USA- ”Bill Sherwood Award – Bestes Erstlingswerk” – Inside Out Toronto LGBT Fimfestival 2016 – Kanada- ”Offizielle Auswahl” – Frameline LGBT Film Festival San Francisco- Asian-American Int. Film Festival New York- Reeling: Chicago LGBT Film Fest Chicago- Out On Film Festival Atlanta- Philadelphia Film Festival Philadelphia- Vancouver Queer Film FestivalBonusmaterial:Deutscher Trailer; Originaltrailer;

Willkommen zur 32. schwulen filmwoche freiburg

2016hatten wir nicht nur viele gute Filme von der Berlinale und anderen Festivals in der Auswahl, sondern auch einige überraschende Randentdeckungen.

So präsentieren wir euch ab 27. April so manche Perle, für die wir uns sehr eingesetzt haben, um sie ins Programm zu bekommen. Zuerst natürlich unser herrlicher Eröffnungsfilm Théo & Hugo des genialen schwulen Regieduos Martineau und Ducastel. Auch auf den australischen Holding the Man auf der Grundlage des berühmten Buches und auf den ruhigen White Night aus Korea sind wir sehr stolz.

Aus den USA erreichen uns aktuell viele Filme mit neuen Geschichten. Daddy zeigt eine schwule Beziehung mit großem Altersunterschied, 4th Man Out ein Outing unter rührender Beteiligung der Clique und Those People eine raffinierte Dreierkiste. Soft Lad aus England setzt noch einen drauf mit einer „Ménage à trois“ innerhalb der Familie.

Bisher kaum gesehene Perspektiven auf schwules Leben und schwule Beziehungen bieten unter anderem der frisch gebackene Teddy-Gewinner Kater, die Schweizer Produktion Unter der Haut und auch Honeymoon aus Tschechien.

Trotz der zahlreichen internationalen Filme haben wir dieses Jahr erfreulich viele deutschsprachige Filme ins Programm aufgenommen, ein schöner Trend und Genuss mal ohne Untertitel (auch unsere diesjährige Sneak Preview gehört dazu).

Nach den Landtagswahlen fragen wir uns, ob wir weiterhin mit homopolitischen Fortschritten rechnen können, oder nur mit Fortschrittchen. In Jamaika sieht es viel übler aus als bei uns, daher zeigen wir in Zusammenarbeit mit QueerAmnesty The Abominable Crime. Diese Doku bringt uns näher, wie es in Jamaica für Homos zugeht, und im Anschluss ist Zeit und Raum zum Austausch.

Und am Sonntagnachmittag läuft mit Loev ein „bemerkenswert klischeefreies Drama“ aus einem Land, in dem Homosexualität offiziell auch noch unter Strafe steht – Indien!

Dank der gewährten städtischen Förderung haben wir einige Regisseure und Filmemacher zu uns einladen können und hoffen auf deren rege Zusagen. Neuigkeiten geben wir euch via Homepage und Facebook bekannt.

Die wievielte Filmwoche wir dieses Jahr haben, war uns in der Planung fast schon entfallen, so sehr waren wir mit den Vorbereitungen beschäftigt (und haben ein Plakat für die 34. Filmwoche vorbereitet). Die Früchte dieser Arbeit wollen wir mit euch feiern: auf der [email protected] am Samstag und bei unserem neuesten Event, dem Filmwochen-Brunch am Sonntag, wenn wir zu einem leckeren Frühstück im Bistro „Liebes Bisschen“ laden.

Das Beste gibts wie immer zum Schluss: Die Kurzfilme am Mittwoch abend um 21 Uhr fassen die Vielfalt der Filme dieser Woche in einem einzigen Kino-Besuch zusammen!

Kommt zahlreich und häufig – am besten mit einer Dauerkarte.

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It’s only the end of the world (juste la fin du monde)

French-Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan’s latest divided critics (it’s fair to say SBS Movies’ Fiona Williams did not love it) and to date has only screened in Australia at the Sydney Film Festival, but this SBS Sexuality reporter was utterly floored. Adapted from the play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, Gaspard Ulliel is magnificent as the terminally ill Louis, returning to the claustrophobic bosom of his estranged and quite strange family after 12 years away. Also starring Nathalie Baye as his overbearing mother, Léa Seydoux as his deeply wounded younger sister and Marion Cotillard as the nervy wife of his abusive brother (Vincent Cassel), it’s a trademark Dolan window onto familial dysfunction.

Closet monster

Winning Best Feature at this year’s Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF), Canadian writer-director Stephen Dunn’s kooky, glitter blasting, teen rom-com debut channels Xavier Dolan by way of Gregg Araki. American Crime’s Connor Jessup is brilliant as a teen scarred by a brutal act of homophobic violence glimpsed as a child that now haunts his sexual urges, with Cronenberg-like body horror visions. If that sounds full-on, this queer coming-of-age yarn dances from horror to comedy nimbly, all set to a pulsing score. It also features the vocal talents of Isabella Rossellini as a sarky pet hamster called Buffy. Need we say more? 

gay film 2016


After debuting at last year’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), Grant Scicluna’s unforgettable debut feature Downriver – superbly shot by cinematographer László Baranyai – featured a mesmerising performance from Reef Ireland as a young man returning to the scene of a terrible crime, walking a fraught line towards redemption. Also starring a powerhouse turn from Kerry Fox as his loyal mother and Thom Green as an abusive former friend, the pair were garlanded at this year’s Iris Awards, the world’s largest LGBTI film prize. 


British filmmaker Jake Witzenfield travelled to Israeli city Tel Aviv to document the lives of three gay Palestinian men Khader Abu Seif, Fadi Daeem and Naeem Jiryes as they navigate love, friendship and identity politics against a backdrop of war. An impressive debut, refuses to make simple observations about a complex situation, touching on the universal truth that we are all complex creatures made of many intersecting and occasionally conflicted beliefs. 

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Certain women

Indigenous American actor Lily Gladstone’s revelatory performance in Kelly Reichardt’s snow-bound triptych Certain Women saw her hold her own opposite no less than Kristen Stewart. An education in saying so much while hardly speaking at all, Gladstone staggeringly conveys a sexual awakening in the most subtle of ways as her ranch hand slips into the education law classes of Stewart’s oblivious out-of-town lawyer. A disconsolate driving scene is the year’s most beautifully crushing. 

The handmaiden (ah-ga-ssi)

Park Chan-Wook’s deliriously saucy and whip-smart funny adapts Sarah Waters’ historical drama Fingersmith, transplanting the action from Victorian London to 1930s Korea under Japanese occupation. Kim Tae Ri is brilliant as an orphan pickpocket given a new lease on life as the handmaiden to Kim Min-hee’s Japanese gentry, with secret plans to fleece her. The erotically charged S&M lesbian drama packs in multiple double-crosses before all’s said and done, keeping audiences on their toes. 

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Paris 05:59 (théo et hugo dans le même bateau)

Moving from the French Pyrenees-set Being 17 to the heart of Paris, there’s an element of Andrew Haigh’s off-the-cuff romance in Weekend to writer-directors Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Marineau’s Paris 05:59, starring François Nambot and Geoffrey Couët. A queer highlight of this year’s MIFF, there’s also an eye-opening extended orgy set to strobing lights to kick it off before a moment’s panic tilts the film into a layered exploration of sexual responsibility. Eye-opening in more ways than one. 

Notable mentions: Chemsex, Departure, Grandma, Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, Kiki, Scrum, Strike a Pose, Viva, Teenage Kicks

Did you know

Juan: [to Little] Let me tell you something, man. There are black people everywhere. You remember that, okay? No place you can go in the world ain’t got no black people, we was the first on this planet.

Juan: I’ve been here a long time. I’m from Cuba. Lotta black folks in Cuba. You wouldn’t know that from being here, though. I was a wild little shorty, man. Just like you. Running around with no shoes on, when the moon was out. This one time, I ran by this old… this old lady. I was runnin’ and hollerin’, and cuttin’ a fool, boy. This old lady, she stopped me. She said…

Juan: [Imitating an old lady’s voice] "Runnin’ around, catching up all that light. In moonlight, black boys look blue. You blue, that’s what I’m gon’ call you. ‘Blue’."

Juan: [to Little] At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you gonna be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you.

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What is the future of tv’s hunkiest gay newsman?

Are we living in a golden age of gay film? Possibly. From PrideCarol to The Danish Girl to Tangerine, the last few years have seen a slew of award-worthy films featuring gay and LGBTI characters.

Granted, major films featuring prominent lesbian and trans characters have been sadly thin on the ground this year.

That said, representation of gay men on screen has been strong and varied – and one of 2016’s best movies focuses on a dynamic relationship between two women. Here, we count down our seven favourite films of the year…