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Foreign gay cinema demands attention. Outside the English-speaking world are gay films that take leaps in genre-variation and eroticism.

‘Free Fall’: 5 international gay films you shouldn’t miss

It’s easy to say no to subtitles, but don’t give in. Foreign gay cinema demands attention. Unlike our rare disco balls gathering popularity along their way into Hollywood, these movies are more erotic and honest than their English counterparts.

Okay, Timothée Chalamet (Lady Bird) masturbating into fruit in Call Me by Your Name (2017) is a little out-there, but mostly, English-language gay movies feel introductory – like a “Being Gay 101” lesson (see the cotton-candy rom-com Love, Simon).

Outside the English-speaking world are gay films that take leaps in genre-variation and eroticism. We know it’s difficult for subtitle-virgins, but be sure not to miss these five movies. And, yes, there are shirtless men.

5. Presque Rien (2000)

This French-Belgian drama follows Mathieu (Jérémie Elkaïm) as he embarks on a dreamy vacation romance with a stranger (Stéphane Rideau). For those looking for cute, but artsier.

4. Stranger by the Lake (2013)

In a French thriller that blends eroticism with violence, Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) visits a naturist beach, but the woods nearby are home to a love affair and a dead body. Don’t watch with your parents – it has unsimulated sex scenes.

3. Floating Skyscrapers (2013)

Kuba (Mateusz Banasiuk) gets bored trying to please his mother and girlfriend by day, so cruises men by night. It’s not groundbreaking, but it succeeds at building the bleak landscape of closeted life in Poland.

2. Free Fall (2013)

Sense8’s Max Riemelt stars in this electric German drama following Marc (Hanno Koffler), a police officer who falls for Kay (Riemelt) despite his pregnant girlfriend (Katharina Schüttler). Get watching, a sequel is in the works.

1. 120 Beats Per Minute (2017)

On the reality of 90s Parisian gay life, the film follows AIDS activists who demand better healthcare. Through rising mortality rates, the film reveals the high-stakes risks of love.

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