Elisa y Marcela: Isabel Coixet births another masterpiece

There are different kinds of silence in film. There is the uncomfortable, dominating silence that makes your muscles tense in morbid anticipation. Then there is the intimate silence, where a glance, a touch, a brush of skin tells everything; where words aren’t necessary to reassure both character and spectator and bring them in closer. This film gifts us both kinds of silence, and shows us the difference. Elisa y Marcela (2019) is a Spanish romantic drama film by the auteur filmmaker Isabel Coixet. […]

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The Feels: a bit generic indie, but nice

Generic title, right? “The Feels”. And did it give me ‘the feels’? Well it turns out that’s a reference to orgasms, so no, but if we’re talking about other kinds of feels, then yes. At times. We’ll get to that… The Feels (2017, Jenée LaMarque) is a self-described dramedy about a lesbian couple’s bachelorette weekend. Lu drunkenly admits to her fiancée Andi in front of the whole group that she’s never had an orgasm, causing a rift between the couple. This, alongside other unexpected drama, causes tension in the group as the friends and the brides-to-be navigate their relationships. […]

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I Am Jonas: overly cerebral or intelligently thought-provoking?

I Am Jonas (Christophe Charrier, 2018) is a coming-of-age gay love story shrouded in dark mystery. Originally made for the (as the name suggests) artsy European TV network ARTE and then brought to Netflix in spring 2020, it tells the story of the eponymous Jonas and handsome troublemaker Nathan. We explore their teen romance, its subsequent murky demise and the long lasting after-effects. Watching with the original French language subtitles, the first closed caption of “musique oppressante” (no language prizes for guessing what that means) tells us we’re in for a bumpy ride. […]

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Alex Strangelove: where queerness shines through

When I tell you that this film — which starts out seeming like your run-of-the-mill teen rom-com —is different precisely because it’s gay, you shouldn’t read that as a bad thing. The explicit gayness of Alex Strangelove inches its way into the film slowly. We follow the story of the title character Alex, played by Daniel Doheney, and his long time best friend to recently turned girlfriend Claire, played by Madeline Weinstein (no relation) […]

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Disclosure: A whirlwind through Hollywood’s problematic trans representation

When I sat down to watch and review Disclosure (2020, Sam Feder), I couldn’t help but ask myself: could I have imagined this documentary at this calibre being made ten years ago? Five? Even one? The answer to all of those questions is a resounding probably not. And yet, as this film proclaims so loudly, trans people have existed on screen since screens became a thing. Disclosure is a wild ride through a chaotic history of dangerously cliched trans representation: from villains to violence, genital surgery and sex workers via transness as a vehicle for praising cis men (did they really need another one?). And we learn a lot from what not to do. […]

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The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson

Marsha P Johnson was a black trans woman (self-identifying as a drag queen, the language which existed at the time) who was, at the very least, militantly active in the 1969 Stonewall Riots. There are conflicting accounts about whether she “threw the first brick”, but thanks to Stonewall, and countless other protests over her lifetime, she is one of the reasons we have Pride. Every queer person should know who she is. She is gay liberation. She was The Moment. Thankfully, this documentary paints a vivid picture. […]

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I Am: artsy, but not gay enough

Picture this: on a dreary Sunday afternoon in 2010, you decide to visit your local independent cinema. There, you discover it’s the last day of an artsy film festival ー something about identity in Asia, or perhaps LGBTQ rights around the globe. You notice that a collection of short films is about to be shown, and you buy a surprisingly cheap ticket. There are six other people in the queue, and one of them works there, but everyone seems excited. You sit down in the third row ーa prime spot, but not so far forward as to seem over-keen. The lights go down, and the titles roll. This is how it feels to watch this film. […]

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Carol: an evocative delight

“I want to see you” You know what Therese Belivet, I also want to see Cate Blanchett, at any and all times possible, so thank you.
As suggested by my opening quote, Carol (as film and character) is extremely visually rich. It is sensual, evocative, and elegant. The theme of vision — observation, seeing and being seen — comes around time and time again. […]

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