Khevna.P.Shah, INN/Bangalore

@Shahkhevna1, @Infodeaofficial

Cinema is a reflection of people and helps to unpack some of the complexities faced by
understanding others’ experiences, understanding the self and its place in the world. Through
time cinema has evolved and new concepts are introduced. Thought some concept like the
Queer cinema might have not have appreciated much in the past, but in recent times, it is widely
accepted and loved by all audience.

Queer cinema often tries to educate the audience, normalize the guy culture and also extend
empathy. It has also been a motivation to those who have been struggling to come out of the
closet due to the fear of societal judgment. The genre also helps those who are in a state of
paranoia understand that questioning one’s identity can be messy and complex, but it helps in
assuring that this storm shall pass.
Celebrating the pride-month, here are seven comings of age films about identity and love that
are worth watching

1. The Boys in a Band (2020)
This movie serves as a perfect example of how things were in the past and how much it has
changed. The Boys in a Band originally was a theater play by Mart Crowly in the year 1968,
which was not positively perceived by the audiences and caused subsequent persecution of the
LGBT community.
The only thing that changed in the 2020 version of The Boys in a Band is that the roles were
played by openly- gay actors and also received positive reviews from the critics and the
audience. The film was awarded The Film Award at the ninth annual Virgin Atlantic Attitude
Awards and the 2021 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film.
Starring Jim Parsons, Andrew Rannells, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Carver, Matt Bomer, Brain
Hutchison, Robin de Jesus Tuc Watkin, and Micheal Benjamin Washington, the movie revolves
around a group of gay friends gathered for a birthday party set in 1968, New York. As the night
wears on, better truths and suppressed feelings emerge.
The film deals with the subject of coming out, friendship, relationship, homophobia, and the idea
of love and beauty, which is what makes it worth a watch.

2. Moonlight
Moonlight directed by Barry Jenkins made history by becoming the first queer film with an all-
black cast to win the Academy Award for the Best Picture.
The story revolves around the life of Chiron in three different chapters by the different identities
he chooses, Little, Chiron, and Black.

The film portrays the truth about what sexual identity means for queer men and the threat of
hypermasculinity. It is about the pain and conflict one faces on the journey of discovering their
identity. Moonlight is a celebration of love and friendship, leaving you to weep towards the end.

3. Call me by your name
Adaptation from the novel with the same title written by Andre Aciman, Call me by your name is
quite popular among the audience. Set in Spain, the movies revolves around the lives of two
boys Oliver and Elio.
The cinematography is aesthetic as it captures the beautiful scenic glimpse of Spain. The film’s
multiplicity of desire, its resistance towards identity policing, consolidation, and reification are
radical. It rejects categorization and celebrates the nationality, sexuality, and ambiguity of
gender all at the same time without overpowering one another.

4. Boys don’t cry
Directed by Kimberly Peirce, Boys don’t cry was the first film to introduce transgender men into
mainstream cinema. It is based on the tragic life story of Brandon Teena, a 21-year-old
Nebraska transman who was raped and murdered in 1933. His death results in the small group
of trans people claiming him to be one of their own.
The movie was told from Teena’s point of view, presenting as someone the audience would
empathize with. Boys Don’t Cry brings out several conversations surrounding trans rights and
acted as a token of empathy in its embodiment of trans-ness, for several victims and members
of the community for years.

5. Rafiki
Rafiki, directed by Wanuri Kahiu is the first Kenyan film to be selected for Cannes, made waves
when it was banned in its home country. The ban due to its “homosexual theme and clear intent
to promote lesbianism in Kenya, which contradicted to the law and questioned the dominant
values of the Kenyans”. The story is, in contrast to accusations of grave political agenda, a
tender romance about young love.
The film lacks newness in its plot and becomes predictable. However, it is the exact same
stereotype of the giddiness, butterflies, and unmissable flush that comes with an old flame,
which causes this film to land. Cinematographer Christopher Wessel brings out various pockets
of colour and dreamy visuals under the Kenyan sun. What the film does, is break convention by
working within it, like in Love Simon, the trope of the rom-com prevails, but Kahiu manages to
celebrate the women and their relationship with colour, vibrance, and honesty.

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