Yippee! Summer is around the corner, more and more of us are fully vaccinated, AND it’s LGBTQ Pride Month—what could be better? Okay, so many, many, many things could be better obviously, and we must continue to fight the good fight, but now is also a time to celebrate the big and small advances in civil liberties our society has made since the Stonewall Uprising in 1969 (the impetus for the original Gay Pride Day that has delightfully expanded into an entire month—woo-hoo!) One way to commemorate this progress is to enjoy more offerings from the expanding body of engaging cinematic and episodic stories featuring characters who explore an ever more diverse array of sexualities, romances and identities.
Here are a few we here at BTB have especially enjoyed…
DATING AMBER (2021, HBO MAX, Prime): This delightful coming-of-age/coming out film takes a fresh, heartfelt and nostalgic approach as we join highly flawed but lovable characters in an even more flawed society in mid-1990s Ireland.
FINGERSMITH (2005, series, free on Prime): Wow! How’d this British wonder fly under my radar for so long? Imagine the thrilling twisty suspense of Daphne Du Maurier’s (and Hitchcock’s) REBECCA seamlessly colliding with an historical LGBTQ romance novel vibe that gives Shonda Rhimes’ BRIDGERTON a run for its money. Love, love, love this one! And it’s wonderfully feminist to boot.
BOUND (1996, free on Prime, but only for another 9 days): I remember first seeing this provocative film in the theater and marveling that two men wrote and directed a story that so deeply and beautifully captured its strong and dynamic female protagonists, a rare find in a 90s neo-noir crime thrillers. Perhaps that’s why I was not at all surprised when the Wachowski Brothers transitioned into the Wachowski Sisters. Well worth a revisit if you haven’t seen it in a while. And if you haven’t seen it at all, there’s no time like the present.
And let us also not forget…the third, and final, season of POSE is out and available to rent (on Prime, not Netflix where you can catch the first two seasons free.) I’ve made no bones about my hard-on for Ryan Murphy, but IMHO this is his absolute best!
PARIS IS BURNING (1990, Amazon Prime, Apple, iTunes): This 1990 documentary celebrates the Drag Queens and transgender women living in New York City’s East Village while highlighting the universal human need for community, acceptance and sense of belonging. Every year this spirited group sponsor a series of balls and vogue dancing competitions which serve to strengthen the bonds of this marginalized community. As well as to provide the participants and their audiences with a good time The film also explores issues of racism, class and unfair beauty standards-themes that remain topical all these years later. A celebratory and poignant way to kick off Pride month.
MADONNA: TRUTH OR DARE (1991, Amazon Prime): Another fun documentary that captures the heyday of the Material Girl as she conquers the world with her over-the-top spectacle that was called The Blond Ambition tour. How can you not enjoy the sight of Madonna frolicking in bed with her dancers, having fun with a bottle of water, pissing off the Vatican, dissing Kevin Costner, and nearly getting arrested for violating the obscenity laws of Toronto. Blondes with a gay entourage definitely have more fun!
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (2019, Amazon Prime, Hulu): It’s a scandal that French director Celine Sciamma wasn’t nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Director category. This is one of the best films of 2019 and one of the most unforgettable love stories ever captured on celluloid. An artist is commissioned to paint the portrait of a young fiery woman who is awaiting an arranged marriage. The relationship that develops between the artist and her subject soon flourishes into a passionate love affair. An extraordinary love story that explores the creative process and how the patriarchal system doomed their relationship.
Back in two weeks…
Devi & Amy
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