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For the LGBTQ community, film has long been a vehicle for challenging social oppression and isolation. While, in turn, furthering inclusion and understanding of the LGBTQ community’s vibrant place in history, art, and culture. This has led to a cinematic journey that not only reflects the history of the people at its heart. But also celebrates the role both individuals and communities have played in the fight for broader equality and representation.
As a result, cinema has assisted in building a wider public understanding of the lives of LGBTQ people. Exploring some of the most challenging and heart-breaking events in the communities global history. While also reflecting and representing a community that has often been kept silent and hidden. In turn helping to build individual and community confidence in sharing stories, coming out and expressing pride.
However, it is only recently in the history of cinema that confidence has grown, and even now studios often openly censor LGBTQ content to appease global markets. Therefore the journey of LGBTQ cinema is far over, in fact, it is only just finding confidence. The role of films alongside theatre and art remaining central to furthering inclusion. So join us in celebrating the films that made us laugh, cry and reflect on the LGBTQ journey. While in turn building bridges that further inclusion and equality.
And Then We Danced (2020)
I have often commented on the bravery of bringing LGBTQ stories to our screens from those countries where oppression is still rife. But when this bravery is coupled with a mission to break down the stereotypes and perceptions leading to segregation and discrimination. While exploring culture, identity and history that directly influences homophobic actions. Film can not only open doors to understanding, diversity and cultural change. But also enable wider discussion and reflection on the interface between a countries history and embedded discrimination. And that is exactly what is achieved through Swedish filmmaker Leven Akin’s film ‘And Then We Danced’.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Brokeback Mountain could have easily become a melodrama in the wrong hands. However, with Ang Lee at the helm, it became a beautiful and profoundly moving story of hidden love, lost opportunities and escape. Set against the backdrop of rural Wyoming in 1960’s America. Ledger, Gyllenhaal and Williams offer performances that ring with sincerity, heartbreak and isolation. While the suffocation of hidden desire interfaces with the escape of rurality and separation. In a film that not only allowed the horror of homophobia into mainstream cinemas but also challenged toxic masculinity and isolation. As a result, opening the door to the cinema for many LGBTQ stories. While in turn, demonstrating the power of cinema in embracing change, and challenging the discrimination still prevalent in rural American communities.
Watching the final harrowing scenes you can’t help but be reminded of the horrific murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998. Only further Demonstrating the importance of Brokeback Mountain in challenging rural isolation, discrimination and acceptance.
During the late summer of 1985, as AIDS ripped through the global gay community. A small budget, hastily made film was about to make its debut at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. ‘Buddies’ was a film that was not only going to challenge the public debate on a disease still being labelled as the ‘the gay plague’. But also deliver a nuanced exploration of the lives at the centre of its destruction. Alongside a community that was forced to take over the role of government in supporting their fellow men and women through the darkest of times. Ultimately delivering a film that quietly and confidently challenged the world. In turn, providing us with one of the most powerful and influential gay films of the past 30 years.
Watching Buddies today is like watching a sublime piece of theatre. Its power equal to that of its debut in 1985. As you are swept away in a divine character study that not only continues to deliver emotional impact but also submerges you in the importance of the continuing fight for equality and change. Consequently providing one of the finest and most important pieces of LGBTQ cinema of the past 35 years.
Love Simon (2018)
Love Simon has earned its place as a defining LGBTQ movie of a new generation. Not only taking the best-selling novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda into cinemas. But also, translating it with care, love and a delightfully light touch. To create a truly groundbreaking young adult LGBTQ rom-com. Where director Gregg Berlanti reflects the dynamic energy of John Hughes at his best. While also bringing this aesthetic bang up to date with a modern coming-out journey, full of humour, love and warmth.
However, where Love Simon really excels is in its ability to bring fresh and engaging gay romantic comedy to a young audience. With a 12A certificate ensuring its ability to reach a wide and diverse audience. Ultimately making Love Simon a game-changer in LGBTQ representation on screen for a whole new generation of young people. And we can’t wait to see how the new Hulu TV series continues the journey already begun.