Blister Monthlies: LGBTQ+ History Month Edition (Part 2)
Part 2! As we've come to the end of LGBTQ+ History Month, we've been reflecting on the Queer films that hold a special place in our hearts. Together with some friends we have put together a bumper edition of the Monthlies - with so many favourites we've had to split it in two parts!
Bea - Feel Good
This month I’ve had yet another Mae Martin binge where I listen to every podcast and watch every interview ever, and thanks to the publicity for Feel Good from almost a year ago now, 2020 gifted us plenty of Martin-based content. Dealing with the complexities of internalised biphobia, Feel Good is much more than a standard coming-out comedy. Based on their own experiences, the show follows the relationship of Mae Martin (a version of Martin’s own persona) and “previously heterosexual” George (Charlotte Richie) and the impacts of Mae’s past addiction and George’s repression of her sexuality.
On a personal front, the show has been a crutch, a safe space to FEEL GOOD about my own queerness while in lockdown. According to an interview, Martin wrote the line ‘I’m not a boy, I’m not even a girl, I’m like a failed version of both’ as a throwaway line in reference to her own feelings about gender (Martin uses she/they pronouns). Yet it was a line that resonated with a generation of gender-questioning gays. In fact, I personally referenced the line when I first admitted my own feelings about my gender to my best friend. This show is a reminder of why representation is important, but more importantly, it makes you laugh and cry in equal measures, and I cannot wait for the second series.
Tom - Happy Together (1997)
Legendary Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai is better known for his straight romances: slick, stylish, portraits of lovers living in the shadows of Hong Kong society – adulterers, drug dealers, contract killers – that still manage to be deeply romantic, and kinda quirky. In Happy Together he broke away from Hong Kong, and away from heterosexuality all together, focusing on a turbulent romance between two expatriate men living in Buenos Aires. The result is a Cantonese-language masterpiece of New Queer Cinema created only 6 years after the British colonial government of Hong Kong had even decriminalised homosexuality.
Forget mopey white twinks and suburban sob stories: the diaspora experience, poverty, sex work, loneliness – this film has it all. But this is not just a gritty statement on culture and identity, a visual essay for critics like us to write our silly little articles about – it’s unique, it’s sincere, it’s – dare I say it – cute. The focus of the film is the romance between Ho Po-Wing and Lai Yiu-Fai, shown through pathetically beautiful little motifs like the Iguazu Falls and the use of black-and-white film when the lovers are apart (they light up each other’s world, geddit??) This is a film that is both thought-provoking and cute, and hell, shouldn’t queer love be allowed to be cute sometimes?
Eleanor - The L Word (2004-9)
It's trashy. It's dated. And Jenny is just so awful. As one of the first television shows to portray explicitly lesbian characters with complex personal lives, The L Word has cemented itself as a "problematic fav" for many viewers. Admittedly, there is a lot to loathe about this show, from the mistreatment of its trans and bi characters to its god-awful theme song, but it was also ground-breaking for its time and still serves as an important cultural link for many lesbians — even if that link is just a shared eye roll and an "ugh. Jenny."
Inez - Pride (2014)
Pride is one of those feel-good films you reach for on a drizzly February day; something heart-warming but not too sickly. Pride tells the story of a group of gay and lesbian activists who band together to raise money for those affected by the UK miners’ strike of 1984. The film not only follows the personal narratives of the group members, which include one man's struggle to come out to his family, but also explores the historical context in which the organization was operating. In their pledge to offer their hand to the cause, the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign demonstrates the importance of intersectionality in resistance movements.
Despite facing disapproval, the campaign is a resounding success for both the gays and the miners alike, reminding modern day movie audiences that going out of your comfort zone can reap many benefits. The film is nostalgic and warm with an inspiring political backbone, exploring important issues related to unionism, classism, stigmatization, feminism, homophobia, and much more.
It's been amazing to see loads more Queer content coming through this month - and long may it continue! We have lots more still in the works coming to your screens soon... in the meantime make sure to check out our new Queer on Screen category page and have a flick through some of the articles we have so far!
Have an idea for more? Pitch to us below!