10 LGBT films that you may not have come across

So, you may have been scouring many a list like this looking for a new LGBT film to sink your teeth into on a relaxed weekend. Or maybe you’re looking for a film that will just make you feel a bit more represented and understood, whatever your reason I have some suggestions. Here I have compiled some of my favourites. Whether it be new, old, funny or downright terrifying- there is bound to be at least one for you on this list!

1. Nowhere (1997) Dir. Gregg Araki

This is the third entry of the “Teen Apocalypse Trilogy” and involves a bisexual couple Dark and Mel, as they navigate their attractions for other people and takes a turn as it quickly unravels into absurdist black comedy. This film is not for the faint of heart, and involves an increasing amount of gore and blood, however, it sticks out in my mind as being entirely unique and a surreal take on how it feels to struggle with one’s own identity and attraction during the especially climactic era of the early 90s. The film contains a lot of Araki’s cinematic tendencies, so if you enjoy it check out his other films!

2. Orlando (1992) Dir. Sally Potter

Based on the satiric novel penned years ago by Virginia Wolfe, it tells the tail of dear Orlando who occupies the Elizabethan era and somehow does not age, beginning as a nobleman and transitioning to noblewoman at around their thirties. The novel is based on the real-life lover of Wolfe, and though fabricated the story transitions beautifully to screen via the skilful cinematography of Potter and the androgynous appearance of Tilda Swinton. This film is to be taken with a grain of salt in terms of its politics however, and appears ambivalent in its conversation about actual transition.

3. Blue (1993) Dir. Derek Jarman

This is the last film to be made by the brilliant New Queer cinema pioneer Derek Jarman, tragically just before he passed away from HIV. Despite being a film, renowned for its language of moving images, Jarman does what he does best and transgresses the medium by depicting a blue screen that is unflinching and encompassing. With his narration and accounts spoken over it in one part, and the other part depicting blue as a character. It is a beautiful and powerful experience, as many of his films are.

4. Handsome Devil (2016) Dir. John Butler

Starring Andrew Scott as a new English teacher at an all-boys school in Ireland, this film focuses on the turbulent yet heat-warming relationship between two students who are very different yet forced to share their room. Scott’s character coaxes them out of their shells and prompts a friendship that demonstrates how important support-systems and communication can be when coming to terms with accepting your sexuality and being proud. Not only is this a beautifully charming it is also incredibly witty and genuinely enjoyable to watch.

5. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) Dir. Stephen Frears

Directed by another well known New Queer cinema filmmaker, this British comedy delves into the intersectionality of race and sexuality in 1980s England, providing a funny yet thought-provoking commentary on the politics of the Reagan and Thatcher era. It follows the story of a of Omar Ali, a young man in south London and his relationship with Johnny, a former fascist who helps him run a laundrette. However, it also details the hardships of the Pakistani community in London at the time and how it feels to be marginalised due to both race and sexuality.

6. Imagine Me and You (2005) Dir. Ol Parker

This light-hearted Rom-com was the first Lesbian film I ever watched and it changed my life! I think every questioning teen most likely has one film or other that helped them come to terms with their identity and for me? It was this film. It was unheard of to me that you could even find rom-coms about women falling in love with women, so one that stars Lena Heady as a Lesbian florist who arranges flowers for a wedding and inevitably falls in love with the bride was perhaps, too good to be true. Yet there it is, with Matthew Goode starring as the sweet yet clueless husband who has very little idea his newlywed wife may be developing feelings for her new “Gal-pal”.

7. Disobedience (2018) Dir. Sebastián Lelio

Co-written by a woman, and based on a novel of the same name which is luckily, also written by a woman (none of that Blue is the Warmest Colour controversy thankfully) it stars Rachel Weiscz AND Rachel McAdams as a young woman returns to her Orthodox Jewish home in the wake of her fathers death and grows close to her old childhood friend who is now married. Like many of the films on this list, it is a complex drama that does not simply tackle the issue of sexuality and repression but that of race, grief and the passage of time.

8. The Handmaiden (2018) Dir. Park Chan-wook

A psychological revenge thriller involving graphic sexual violence as two women team up from opposite sides of their class to take revenge on the men imposing themselves on their lives. It is a tale of seduction, betrayal and love. Though terrifying and disturbing as is often characteristic of the director of Oldboy. It is based on a Welsh novel that alters its setting from Britain to Japanese colonial ruled Korea and therefore has a deeper political commentary than can first be understood. It is, however, deeply riveting and a fascinating watch. You won’t be disappointed by the ending either!

9. The Watermelon Woman (1996) Cheryl Dunye

This is a fascinating film directed and starring Cheryl Dunye. It was conceptualised around Dunye’s frustration over the lack of crediting for black women in films and prompted her to create a story centred on the titular watermelon woman. Though conducted like a genuine documentary the images are fabricated by other creative colleagues Dunye was friends with, though all the research was genuine. It is a stunning and reflective film on the omission of black women from mainstream film and from the film canon of directors as well.

10. Paris is Burning (1990) Dir. Jennie Livingston

This is a documentary detailing ball culture in New York and again, the intersectionality between race, gender identity and sexuality in 1980s Reaganist America. It celebrates a form of expression that was fast-approaching its end at the time but also reminds viewers that forms of resistance, solidarity and self-love can be found in many creative forms and though Ball culture was dying out, other things were becoming popular. It still lives on in many other mediums and has simply evolved into something different in contemporary America.

There we have it, a list of LGBT films that span many a genre, time period, and use of the medium! Hopefully this has broadened your horizons ever so slightly, and if you already knew every film on this list (or most) then it seems you have some films to recommend to me too!