Movies

Pride 2022: 10 queer films and TV shows to check out

A still from ‘Heartstopper’

A still from ‘Heartstopper’ | Photo Credit: Netflix

A month-long celebration of Pride is coming to an end. However, celebrating love in all its forms, and fighting for the right to be oneself in our heteronormative and cis-normative world, is for every season. Pride Month not only serves as a festival of celebration for the queer, but also is a call to action from a longstanding movement that aims to break down social conditioning, gender and sex stereotypes, and to fight for upholding the rights of all.

For those who wish to explore the LGBTQIA+ spectrum through mainstream cinema, here are a few recent titles to introduce you to queer romance, rights, representation, and more.

Call Me By Your Name

Filmmaker Luca Guadagnino’s 2017 gay coming-of-age drama is one of the most famous queer titles, especially among the Gen Z. Set in the stunning Italian countryside, the film tells the story of an Italo-French youth named Elio (Timothée Chalamet), who finds himself in a complicated relationship with Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old American student spending his summer with Elio’s family.


A still from ‘Call Me By Your Name’

A still from ‘Call Me By Your Name’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The film feels like a warm embrace to all the hopeless romantics. With a doomed romance at the centre, it traces the inner battles of a young homosexual teen who faces the pangs of mature love.

Reading up on everything that has been written about the film is an informative exercise on its own. Of course, the awareness of the scandalous Armie Hammer controversy that came to light in the years following the release of the film can prove to be essential in the dialogue about sexual abuse, casting in queer films, and more.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Like Call Me By Your Name, this drama, too, has picturesque locations, engrossing dialogues, a doomed romance with a fiery passion, and a feeling of deep sorrow; all of which emanate through its well-crafted mise-en-scène.


A scene from ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’

A scene from ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Set on a remote island in the 18th century, the film tells the love story of Marianne (Noémie Merlant), a painter who is commissioned by an aristocratic woman to paint her daughter Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), who is refusing to get married, without her knowledge.

Love can creep in from unknown crevices of the heart, and filmmaker Céline Sciamma captures one such intense, fleeting romance between Marianne and Héloïse. One of the initial scenes shows Marianne being escorted by a group of men to the island on a boat; the scene is symbolic of the cold world that she lives in, at a time when the shackles around love, gender, and sexuality were tighter.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Euphoria

This HBO show has unshakable status in the millennial pop culture for showcasing complex themes such as drug abuse, sexual abuse, cyber abuse, mental health issues, and more, in a dark, stark, and riveting manner.


Zendaya and Hunter Schafer in ‘Euphoria’

Zendaya and Hunter Schafer in ‘Euphoria’ | Photo Credit: Disney+ Hotstar

Based on an Israeli miniseries of the same name, Euphoria focuses on several teens who secretly battle their inner and outer demons. Central characters include Rue (Zendaya), who suffers from drug abuse, depression, and grief; and Jules Vaughn (Hunter Schafer), a transgender girl who gets into a complicated relationship with Rue.

The show’s portrayal of some issues might be a tad too heart-wrenching, overwhelming, and even triggering to some, but stays as a necessary reflection of the threats that the real world poses to queers.

Euphoria is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar

Heartstopper

If you are in for something light, wholesome and heartwarming, Heartstopper is the show for you. Based on Alice Oseman’s graphic novel of the same name, this British coming-of-age series scaled the charts for its accurate representation of a delicate gay romance. It tells the story of Charlie Spring (Joe Locke), a homosexual schoolboy who falls in love with classmate Nick Nelson (Kit Connor).

A still from ‘Heartstopper’

A still from ‘Heartstopper’ | Photo Credit: Netflix.com

Over eight 20-minute episodes, we follow Charlie, who has to face everyday struggles being an openly gay, introverted schoolkid; Nick, whose popularity becomes a hindrance when he begins to question his sexuality; and Elle Argent (Yasmin Finney), Charlie’s best friend who had transferred to a girl’s school after coming out as transgender, and many others.

With elegant storytelling, Heartstopper captures both the beautiful, little moments of a high-school romance as well as the micro and macro details of everyday struggles that queer teens are forced to face.

Heartstopper is streaming on Netflix

Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen

Knowing what accurate representation also means knowing what inaccurate representation is. Sam Feder’s documentary film, Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen, is an integral investigation into how cinema and pop culture has projected trans-ness mindlessly and insensitively to the masses over the decades.

Laverne Cox in ‘Disclosure’

Laverne Cox in ‘Disclosure’ | Photo Credit: Netflix

In its 100-minute runtime, Disclosure features over 30 popular trans actors who narrate accounts of how they felt while watching some Hollywood titles that have misrepresented trans-ness. The documentary takes us back to the history of western cinema and points out the repercussions of such misrepresentation on the lives of trans people.

Disclosure: Trans Live on Screen is streaming on Netflix

Pose

Pose is a rooted portrayal of the drag ball culture in ‘80s New York, the city with a vast history of queer movements. An integral part of the LGBTQIA+ culture, a drag ball has drag queens representing their chosen family (or a ‘House’) and competing for a trophy.

A still from ‘Pose’

A still from ‘Pose’ | Photo Credit: Disney+ Hotstar

The first season of the series focused primarily on Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista’s (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez) House and its members, who all have to manoeuvre through societal and personal obstacles.

Plot points stress on HIV awareness, the importance of safe sex, and feasible, unbiased healthcare for all. Also importantly, there are multiple textual and subtextual references to the issues that arise out of class and gender intersection. Pose sensitively displays the problems that queer people faced in the ‘80s in New York and unfortunately continue to face even today around the world.

Pose is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar

Young Royals

In line with young adult dramas with queer narratives like Euphoria, Heartstopper, and Sex Education, comes Young Royals

A still from ‘Young Royals’

A still from ‘Young Royals’ | Photo Credit: Netflix

It follows Prince Wilhelm of Sweden (Edvin Ryding), and his relationship with a fellow student, Simon Eriksson (Omar Rudberg). Dealing with the relationship proves to be difficult for the aristocratic Wilhelm when he becomes the Crown Prince.

This Netflix Swedish drama that premiered last year unanimously won the hearts of the audience for its earnest and sensitive writing about queerness, and for showing the socio-political and socio-economic factors that can affect a young teen who is on the journey of self-discovery.

The six-episode series created by Lisa Ambjörn, Lars Beckung and Camilla Holter was renewed for a second season for all the right reasons.

Young Royals is streaming on Netflix

A Fantastic Woman (or) Una mujer fantástica

The heteronormative world is known to be threatened by anything outside the purview of its social conditioning. A Fantastic Woman is a 2017 Spanish drama by filmmaker Sebastián Lelio that questions trans stereotypes, and gender norms. It portrays the stark reality of our world that sexualises transwomen and disregards their identity and human rights.

A still from ‘A Fantastic Woman’

A still from ‘A Fantastic Woman’ | Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video

A transgender waitress/singer named Marina (Daniela Vega) gets stuck in a quagmire when their romantic partner Orlando (Francisco Reyes) dies unexpectedly after a night out. The authorities as well as Orlando’s family begin to suspect Marina’s involvement. The tension escalates and the film eventually becomes a a full-blown thriller.

Major credits go to Vega’s heartfelt performance, Benjamín Echazarreta’s realistic camera movements, and a brilliant screenplay by Lelio and Gonzalo Maza.

A Fantastic Woman is streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Happiest Season

A gay heart knows how overpowering the fear of coming out to one's family can be. Clea DuVall's holiday rom-com is a must-watch for all those who are struggling to come out.

A still from ‘Happiest Season’

A still from ‘Happiest Season’ | Photo Credit: Netflix

In the film, Abby (Kristen Stewart), who is planning to propose to her girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) at the latter's house, is met with shock when she realises that Harper is yet to come out to her parents.

A big,weird family at the centre adds to the good comedy, drama, and a happy pride holiday film.

Happiest Season is streaming on Netflix

Badhaai Do

The upsurge in the presence of queer narratives in mainstream Indian cinema has been a welcoming one. The latest popular addition to the same is Harshavardhan Kulkarni’s Badhaai Do which has Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar playing a gay man and a lesbian woman, respectively, who marry each other, to please their families.

A still from ‘Badhaai Do’

A still from ‘Badhaai Do’ | Photo Credit: Netflix

When Suman Singh (Bhumi) and Shardul Thakur (Rajkummar) move to the latter’s police quarters, trouble begins as they have to safeguard their secrets and manoeuvre their respective romantic relationships, while also ensuring that they ‘behave’ like the married couple that society expects them to.

Badhaai Do is one of the closest attempts that popular cinema has come to realistically emote the battles that queer people have to face in India. The film has a soundtrack by Amit Trivedi, Tanishk Bagchi, Ankit Tiwari and Khamosh Shah, a terrific cast, and an engaging screenplay by Suman Adhikary, Akshat Ghildial and Harshavardhan.

Badhaai Do is streaming on Netflix


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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 1:58:44 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/pride-2022-10-queer-films-and-tv-shows-to-check-out/article65578902.ece