Last February, What’s A Geek gave a list of four LGBT films to watch for Valentine’s Day. Now that Pride month is about to end, we give you six more lesbian films for you to enjoy for the rest of the year.
If These Walls Could Talk 2
Director: Jane Anderson, Martha Coolidge, Anne Heche
Running Time: 96 minutes
The film is a triptych of stories about the lesbian goings-on in one house over the years. The first story is about elderly lesbian couple Edith (Vanessa Redgrave) and Abby (Marian Seldes) in the 1960s, when conservative attitudes prevented hospital visitation rights and limited property relations. On the day of Abby’s funeral, Edith has to maintain composure and remain hidden in the closet as Abby’s only living relatives literally go through their closets scavenging for anything worth of value. The second story, set in the 1970s, tackles the then not-as-superficial conflict between feminism and homosexuality. Linda (Michelle Williams) and three other friends, all of whom are lesbians and are a part of a feminist group in college, now reside in the same house. Linda falls for the butch Amy (Chloe Sevigny) against the wishes of Linda’s group, who disagree with Amy’s masculine gender expression, which they feel is at odds with their feminist beliefs. The third story features the struggles of Kal (Ellen DeGeneres) and Fran (Sharon Stone) as they try to get pregnant.
While the stories are only tenuously connected, its straightforward approach to lesbian issues establish it as a relevant artifact of lesbian politics. For her role as Edith, Redgrave won a Screen Actors Guild award, an Emmy, and a Golden Globe.
The Edge of Heaven
Director: Fatih Akin
Running Time: 122 minutes
Language: German, Turkish, and English
The film, Germany’s entry in the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2007 Oscars, tackles the immigrant experience in three segments. The first is about alcoholic widower and Turkish immigrant Ali Aksu (Tuncel Kurtiz), the Turkish prostitute Yeter Ozturk (Nursen Kose) he convinces to live with him, and his son Alisan Nejat (Baki Davrak), a professor of German literature, who has misgivings about their living arrangement. The second features Yeter’s lesbian daughter Ayten (Nurguy Yesilcay), a member of a Turkish Communist resistance group, who escapes to Germany in search of her mother, who she believes is a shoemaker. The stories come together in the third segment with the certainty of a human domino in the state of collapse, when the characters come into grips with the wrongs they’ve done to each other and the wrongs done to them.
Fatih Akin expertly handles the characters’ interconnectedness even (and most especially) when it becomes nebulous, showing how pain is universal, and how one’s salvation and repentance becomes that of a stranger’s as well. He labors to show the beautiful scenery of Turkey and Germany, equally distinct from each other, just as characters stir in the sweat of their inner turmoil, culminating in a final scene where both character and setting are in peace. The result is a pensive and rather sanguine look at the human capacity for pain and forgiveness. The film became a critical favorite, and frequently appearing in several top ten lists of films in 2008.
Director: Todd Haynes
Running Time: 118 minutes.
Shopgirl Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) encounters the elegant Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) as the latter completes her Christmas shopping at the place where Therese works. After purchasing a train set, Carol leaves a pair of gloves at the counter. Therese, alight and under a spell, undertakes to return the gloves by mail, setting in motion a delicate ballet of fixation and uncertainty, of exquisite yearning and exquisite restraint. Swept in their courtship’s undertow are Therese’s boyfriend and Carol’s husband, who are heedful of the women’s preoccupation with one another.
Although the story is rooted in a period when American society was less tolerant of homosexuality, the film consciously avoided tropes that posed the closet as an internal crisis of sexuality. Carol tugs at the lines of desire between them, but draws neither shame nor inner guilt. Therese unravels another layer of her sexuality, but does not herself unravel into self-recrimination. The film cuts the fat of the usual LGBT fare, and in so doing places longing above all else.
Carol is a stolen glance in the shape of a film. It observes and it hesitates. Here, it catches the slight turn of the head, there, the light, lingering touch on a shoulder. Even its colors are as muted as an unspoken understanding. And, like stealing a glance, you are left thrilled and breathless.