Last February, What’s A Geek gave a list of four LGBT films to watch for Valentine’s Day. We also gave some pretty sweet recs for lesbian films a week back. Pride Month might be over, but the celebration doesn’t have to stop. Here are six more gay films for you to enjoy for the rest of the year!
Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho
Director: Daniel Ribeiro
Running Time: 95 minutes
Blind high school student Leonardo (Ghilherme Lobo) and his kindhearted best friend Giovana (Tess Amorim) bemoan the fact that they’ve never had a great romance. Things change when new student Gabriel (Fabio Audi) enters their lives. They become fast friends with Gabriel, who unlocks in Leonardo a desire to be more independent from his coddling parents and the possessive Giovana. Giovana falls for Gabriel, unaware that he is more interested in Leonardo.
Few LGBT films feature the disabled as queer protagonists. In Ribeiro’s first feature-length film, the protagonist suffers from physical blindness, while others suffer from a metaphorical one: Gabriel fails to see Giovana’s infatuation, Giovana observes no bloom of puppy love between her friends, and Leonardo’s parents are blind to his maturity. The film won a FIPRESCI Prize and the Teddy Award in the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.
La mala educación
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Running Time: 105 minutes
Ángel Andrade (Gael García Bernal), a struggling actor, visits his first love Enrique Goded (Fele Martínez), a rising film director, and gives him a screenplay he wrote. The screenplay, titled “The Visit,” is a fictionalized but somewhat faithful story of their childhood together in a Catholic boarding school, where the principal, Father Manolo, catches the two boys in a compromising situation. Ángel makes a deal with the priest: he would suffer the priest’s molestation as long as he left Enrique alone. Back in the present, Ángel makes a deal with Enrique: the director could turn the screenplay into a film, as long as Ángel plays himself. Enrique agrees, and his suspicion that Ángel is not who he appears to be pulls the director into a story of drugs, pedophilia, blackmail, double-crosses, and murder.
Gay director Almodóvar has always infused his films with a soap operatic sensibility, but this entry in his oeuvre eschews his usual sense of humor. The result is breathtaking. La mala educacion mines the intellectual uncertainty of metafiction and masterfully combines it with the unease inherent in thrillers. The depraved homosexual/bisexual is a trope common in film and television, often a vehicle of homophobia, but with this film Almodóvar has reclaimed the trope, and in a manner that questions the need for its future reincarnations.
Director: Thomas Bezucha
Running Time: 117 minutes
Henry Hart (Arye Gross) returns to his hometown, Big Eden, Montana, to visit his grandfather Sam (George Coe) who had just suffered a stroke. Also in town is his high school crush Dean Stewart (Tim DeKay), now a divorced father of two boys, and who might reciprocate his feelings. The gossipy townsfolk, who always knew about Henry’s sexuality but never discussed it openly, try to set him up with various men. Meanwhile, Pike Dexter (Eric Schweig), a gruff but shy Native American who delivers their food, has fallen in love with Henry, and secretly learns cooking just so grandfather and grandson could eat healthier meals.
Big Eden is an underrated, if undiscovered, jewel box of an LGBT film. It is ahead of the competition merely for having a person of color as a viable love interest, but what really gives it the winning element is how the people witnessing the romance unfold react: the townsfolk are entirely supportive of the burgeoning gay love story happening before their eyes, and even have their own ideas of who should end up with Henry. It is a refreshing twist on the societal pressures of being gay in a small town, a new perspective where small town kindness overrides homophobia, and it is especially heartening considering it was released a mere three years after Matthew Shepard’s murder.