5 LGBT films we can’t wait to see this autumn
Whether already out in cinemas or slated for release in the coming months, autumn is shaping up to be a great season for LGBT films. The nights are drawing in and you’d like a film to enjoy: choose from a handful of this season’s LGBT offerings, from film festival favorites to a few out of left field.
Writer-director Anahita Ghazvinizadeh’s They divided audiences when it debuted at Cannes earlier this year, but it’s quietly gathering accolades for its unusual choices. Lacking the typical dramatic arc and eschewing the usual narrative of trans or gender-queer identity conflicting with overt social stigma, the film instead focuses on a 14-year-old trans youth known as J (Rhys Fehrenbacher) facing the choice of committing to a particular gender, and how this plays out among J’s family over the course of a weekend.
Starring German Seifenoper star Jo Weil (Verbotene Liebe) in his first English-speaking feature film role, Sodom tells the story of Will (Pip Brignall) whose bachelor blowout in Berlin takes a turn for the worse after he is chained to a lamppost and abandoned by his friends. Stranger Michael (Weil) finds Will and the two go back to Michael’s flat, where their attraction grows. At first seeming to trace the typical story of a repressed man meeting someone free of labels, Mark Wilshin’s debut as a writer-director conjures a unique chemistry between its two actors that has caught the attention of critics since the film debuted over the summer.
Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country tells the story of young Yorkshire farmer Johnny (Josh O’Connor), whose unremarkable life is slowly wearing him down. When Johnny’s father brings in outside help in the form of Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu), Johnny’s life is upended. At first bluntly antagonistic, the two men soon develop a rough chemistry that deepens into heady intimacy.
While parallels to Brokeback Mountain have been made – indeed there are moments where fireside shots seem specifically designed to emulate those of its iconic predecessor – the film does not settle for retreading old ground, instead incorporating the theme of migrant workers’ social treatment and bringing a fresh twist to what is already an engrossing and beautifully shot love story.
Marina & Orlando have a twenty-year age gap between them, but are deeply in love and planning on building a future together – that is, until Orlando falls ill and ultimately dies. At a time when Marina should have the opportunity to mourn her dead lover, instead she must face Orlando’s family and their accusations over her identity as a trans woman. This award-winning drama from Sebastián Lelio (The Sacred Family) has been praised for the story’s veracity and authenticity – helped in no small part by the casting of astounding trans actress Daniela Vega (The Guest), who is breaking barriers in her native Chile and in the wider film scene.
From How to Survive a Plague director David France comes this long-overdue documentary on Marsha P. Johnson, one of the most iconic figures of the 1960s LGBT rights movement. This Netflix release makes none of the glaring mistakes of the widely panned Roland Emmerich film Stonewall, instead putting the narrative in appropriate hands: those of the trans community itself. In The Death and Life we follow trans activist Victoria Cruz as she tries to reopen the case of Johnson’s 1992 suicide, giving rumors of foul play swirling around Johnson’s death a thorough investigation.
Director David France manages to incorporate this strand into a wider commentary about trans individuals’ treatment in society during Johnson’s high-profile days, and how the community still faces extraordinary levels of violence today – making this documentary as gripping as it is instructive.