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These are the best LGBTI movies at this year’s Venice Film Festival

These are the best LGBTI movies at this year’s Venice Film Festival

Olivia Colman as Queen Anne and Emma Stone as Abigail dancing.

The 75th edition of Venice Film Festival kicked off yesterday (29 August), with international movie stars flocking to the lido… by water-taxi.

Alongside the main award – the Golden Lion – the festival will also assign the Queer Lion to an outstanding LGBTI film.

The queer movies competing for the golden statue this year are eight. However, while some of them deal with LGBTI themes openly, others seem way more cautious in depicting same-sex romantic and sexual storylines.

The Favourite

Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman as Sarah Churchill and Queen Anne. | Photo: Fox Searchlight

Highly-anticipated The Favourite by Yorgos Lanthimos opens today (30 August).

The Lobster’s director is behind the camera of this period drama about Queen Anne, who reigned over England, Scotland, and Ireland between 1702 and 1707.

The movie hints at a royal-centric triangle involving the queen (Olivia Colman), her secret lover Sarah Churchill, Countess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz) and the queen’s new maid and confidante, Abigail (Emma Stone). Abigail and Sarah will battle for power with any possible weapon, including seduction.

In the trailer, Abigail and the queen are seen getting dangerously close during a dance scene.

It will hit US theaters on 23 November 2018. UK moviegoers will have to wait until 1 January 2019.


Suspiria is also one of the most long-expected titles. An adaptation of the original movie by horror auteur Dario Argento, it is directed by Call Me By Your Name’s Luca Guadagnino.

It revolves around a world-renowned dance company with an obscure secret. A darkness will engulf the troupe’s artistic director, a committed young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist.

Suspiria features Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz and Tilda Swinton in the main roles. Particularly, the relationship between Johnson and Swinton’s characters seems to have sexual connotations.

Guadagnino’s movie will be presented at the London Film Festival on 16 October 2018. It will then be released in the US on 26 October 2018.

The other LGBTI movies at Venice Film Festival

Venice Film Festival will also see the premiere of José, a Guatemalan queer film.

19-year-old José lives with his Mother in Guatemala. He spends his days on crowded buses and in the streets delivering food. His only distraction is scrolling his phone looking for casual sex. When he meets Luis, José’s life will change for good.

Zen In The Ice Rift is an Italian film competing for the Queer Lion.

In a small village on top of the mountains, Maia, also known as Zen, is the only girl on the local hockey team. She is also an easy target for bullies due to her tomboyish looks.

When Vanessa, the girlfriend of the team captain, runs away from home and hide in Maia’s family lodge, the two girls will spend days together and develop a close relationship.

Maia and Vanessa in a scene of Zen In The Ice Rift. | Photo: Articolture

Furthermore, French movie Bêtes blondes (Real Love) by Alexia Walther and Maxime Matray will focus on the gay love story between a former sitcom star and a lonely military.

Another French movie, C’est ça l’amour by Claire Burger, has a lesbian secondary character.

Russian film Tchelovek kotorij udivil vseh (The Man Who Surprised Everyone) by Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov will focus on an identity change. Upon discovering he has terminal cancer, Egor tries to fool death by assuming someone else’s identity.

Finally, Kucumbu tubuh indahku (Memories of My Body) by Garin Nugroho plays with the notion of genders.

The protagonist Juno is just a kid when his father leaves him in their village of Center Java. Completely alone, he joins a Lengger dance center where men transform their movements and appearance in a feminine way.

The jurors

The jury assigning the Queer Lion features Brian Robinson of UK LGBTI festival BFI Flare. Professor of Cultural Studies Rita Fabbri and Slovenian LGBTI activist Jani Kuštrin are also part of the jury.

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