A new study has shown that fewer than 1% of characters in last year’s top Hollywood movies were LGBTI. Depressing, right?
But one place we’ve always been slightly better-represented is in art house movies. In recent years there have been more than a few incredible examples of this. And most are available to watch on various movie streaming services with the click of a button.
Below, we revisit just five of them:
1 Stranger By the Lake (2014)
And you thought your taste in men was bad. Eerily beautiful and explicitly sexual, Alain Guiraudie’s Queer Palm Award-winner is probably the best erotic-gay-murder-mystery-thriller-horror-drama ever made. Partly because it’s the only one (we assume), but in that way, it blazes a trail.
Having silently witnessed a murder at a remote, lakeside cruising ground one hazy summer night, cute Frenchman Franck promptly falls in love with the (admittedly smoking hot) psychopath in question, Michel. Cue sexy, pouting poker face.
2 Lilting (2014)
This is Ben Whishaw at his most ‘Ben Whishaw’. The British actor – who’s attached to the upcoming Mary Poppins remake – gives a sensitive, quietly devastating performance as Richard, a young man grieving the death of the love of his life, Kai (Andrew Leung, appearing in flashback, is equally as unfaltering).
Cheng Pei-pei plays Kai’s mother, Junn, who doesn’t speak English and didn’t know her son was gay. Richard’s tireless attempts to connect and communicate with her will bring tears to your eyes – we guarantee it.
3 Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013)
The most epic same-sex love story ever told on film? Probably. Even accusations of abusive on-set behaviour from director Abdellatif Kechiche didn’t stop critics pouring over this 179-minute-long coming-of-age drama. It puts under the magnifying glass the passionate love affair between schoolgirl Adele and art student Emma.
The film’s centerpiece – a graphic, seven-minute sex scene, which took ten days to film – was hotly debated by feminists and lesbian commentators, with many dismissing it as absurd. This aside, the emotional trajectory of the central relationship is hyperreal, and immediately recognizble to anybody who’s been in heady, all-consuming young love.
4 Reaching For the Moon (2013)
Another portrait of an intense lesbian relationship, this time set in Brazil and New York City. It focuses on the real life romance of American poet Elizabeth Bishop and the achingly cool architect Lota de Macedo Soares.
The cinematography is exquisite, the backdrops are wondrous, and the chemistry between the two leads (Miranda Otto andGlória Pires) is palpable.
5 Weekend (2011)
The film that put Looking’s Andrew Haigh on the map. The British director stumbles on greatness with this remarkably simple story of two Nottingham-based gay men who fall in love over the course of one weekend.
The flat in which the action takes place is drab, the dialogue is straightforward, and compared to Blue and Stranger, the drama’s muted. So what makes Weekend so powerful? The understated performances from Tom Cullen as the sweet, sensitive Russell and Chris New as the more cynical, showy Glen. A story about two lost souls and the kindness of love, this film will stay with you forever.