Best Gay Movies 2000 to 2019

A comprehensive if ongoing list of my favorite gay movies from the last two decades, ending in 2019.

Last updated in September, 2022

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Note: In making this list of gay movies, I considered what was important to me, rather than what was important to the culture at large or to any specific subculture, gay or otherwise, not least because there are inevitably estadounidense biases, and often European ones as well, built in to lists like these.

As a corrective to that, and in an effort at honesty, I’ve made this list personal. Also, for obvious reasons, this is a work in progress, until 2020 anyway, not least of which is my ongoing struggle to define what constitutes a gay film. This is more of a personal selection than an attempt to assess historical relevance.

Please make suggestions for further viewing in the comments, or let me know if I’ve forgotten or overlooked something. I’d also love to hear what anyone thinks of any particular film.

Many of the links below could possibly, hopefully earn me a small commission should you decide to buy from Amazon.

Looking over my GTM list on Letterboxd, I realize that the bulk of the films that resonate strongly in my mind and therefore received the highest star ratings or at least the most confident ones, were, in fact, released before 2000.

It’s not that there have been no good gay-themed movies released since 2000, it’s that greatness for me is a function of time and an accumulation of experiences, not just of seeing films, but of thinking, writing, and talking about them.

I’ve lived with those older films for much longer.

That’s one reason why I don’t put much stock in ranked year-end lists, and especially not in Oscar nominations, which are primarily about career politics in Hollywood.

(I don’t give a fuck.)

How can we know those films are great if we’ve only seen them once, or even twice, and if their memories are less than a year old in our minds? Maybe others can figure things out that fast, but I can’t.

Still, making lists is a contribution to understanding what’s important to us, and the beginning of contextualizing and evaluating them, and so I think it’s worth doing.

The first block of films has had the most lasting impact on me, and the rest are listed in no particular order. I didn’t bother to set a numerical limit. I just chose until I was done, and I’m happy to entertain any addition to the canon. just to name one area, I’m ignorant of any experimental film work being done by or for gay men, so would love to fill in those blanks.

In the Family
Directed by Patrick Wang
USA, 2011

I didn’t have to think hard before putting Wang’s rigorous, disciplined but also emotional masterpiece at the top of the list. This film’s power doesn’t come primarily from its topicality — not marriage equality per se, but rather its absence — but in the attention paid to the ordinary details in the daily lives of a gay man (estadounidense Southern, and of Asian descent) and the white son of his dead lover, and to the way political realities play out through those details, within families, between friends and lovers, between individuals and institutions.

There’s no clearer, recent heir to Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, although the odd and oblique framing tactics of Wang’s static shots are quite a bit different from Akerman’s often planimetric ones, and Wang’s film manages a happy ending, of sorts, if a provisional one, a point that most seem to miss. It’s a freeze-frame for a reason.

So it’s baffling why In the Family was rejected by more than 15 different film festivals. Or maybe not so baffling if you understand something fundamental about the taste, vision, and sense of film history of our current cultural gatekeepers, and not just straight ones, who, while having put Akerman’s film in the canon, never seem to have quite grasped its importance and implications.

In a cultural situation in which a modestly talented, juvenile filmmaker like Xavier Dolan shares the spotlight with Jean Luc Godard, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that few people are allowed the opportunity to see In the Family.

El Tercero
Directed by Rodrigo Guerrero
Argentina, 2014

For some of the same reasons I admire In the Family, I also love this minimalist and materialist study of an online seduction that moves into meatspace for more reasons than just to show a hot three-way, although that’s a significant achievement as well. The film focuses on the mundane social minutiae and lived-life details of three gay men in Córdoba, Argentina — an older couple and a young student — and executes that study via the seduction’s sexual dynamics as mediated through contemporary technological and physical-world apparatus, rituals, and traditions —things like webcams, elevators, dinner parties, and where to go on holiday.

I didn’t make clear in my rather academic analysis of the film that this attentive process is an act of valuation of particular Latin American gay-male social and sexual activities — a weighted consideration — and therefore not tangential to issues of representation, and implicitly political. I’d say it’s also at least as important and significant as, just to name, off the top of my head, scenes from the decidedly non-realist heterosexist canon, 1) the conversation between Travis and Jane in Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas; or 2) the relationship between Paul and Jeanne in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris. In the former, the obvious metaphorical device and psychobabble of Sam Shepard’s script left me bemused, skeptical, and a bit bored. The scenario of the latter would have made more sense in a gay context. Good luck trying to convince, or even challenge, straight male cinephiles and critics of the implications of any of that. But this film is only as important if you judge gay life and sexuality to be as significant, as human, as straight life. But how many do?

For me, El Tercero stakes claim, not just to the normativity of gay-male sexual desire, but the ordinariness and necessity of objectification, as well as of male sexual vulgarity and experimentation, of cross-generational contact, of the importance of familial and national cultural contexts in negotiating domestic stability, of the range of strategies and tactics that gay men employ to find happiness. As such, underneath its quotidian calm (except for the sex scene!), it’s revolutionary.

Ronda nocturna
(Night Watch)

Directed by Edgardo Cozarinsky
Argentina, 2005

If I were to judge by blog comments, the gay male movie-going public seems tired of movies about male prostitutes, despite the fact if there’s any group that has more or less normalized sex work, it’s gay men. That normalization is one of our great and ancient contributions to human liberation, not something to marginalize, dismiss or condescend to from the marriage-equality heights. I realize that’s a minority opinion and an occasion for establishment fags to cast aspersions; or for hypocritical, homophobic law enforcement institutions to cast a very wide net.

So, it’s not surprising that filmmakers continue making movies about hustlers. Of the group of films addressing the subject, I can only recommend a few, and none of them have focused on the Czech Republic, where I have my most direct experience and credible judgment. Bodies Without Soul and Mandragora? Rather useless, rent-boy kitsch.

One I can recommend, from another hemisphere, is Edgardo Cozarinsky’s Night Watch, not least because the narrative follows a taxi boy, the Argentine compound noun meaning male escort, prostitute or street hustler, rather than an outside observer or a john. Victor might not be flush or the best-dressed, but he’s no victim or martyr. (The English phrase is used, perhaps because the Spanish equivalent would be puto, and that’s no good) Although I have limited experience in that geo-specific milieu (but do remember vividly a masterful seeing-to by a cute, stoic, double-coming, Paraguayo jock named Emmanuel) but can vouch for the authenticity of the setting, starting out on the corner of Santa Fe and Pueyrredón, at what used to be the center of gay-male sex procurement in Buenos Aires. On a weekend night in 2010, there could be more than 50 young guys cruising for clients in the 4-block area near that corner, and even more inside the hustler/stripper/drag bar, km Zero. Like most things fun and decadent in the real world, that’s mostly gone now. So take a sort of magical realist tour of the streets of Buenos Aires with a taxi boy on the evening of All Saints Day, and into the dawn of All Souls Day, and prepare for your mind to be blown.

La León
Directed by Santiago Otheguy
Argentina, 2007

Here’s another beautiful film, with perfect shot after perfect shot, that the cinephile intelligentsia as well as the Queerty/Backlot amateurs of the world have somehow avoided talking much about or listing. It can’t be because it’s in Spanish and from Argentina, because Lucrecia Martel (La Ciénaga, La mujer sin cabeza) and Lisandro Alonso (Jauja, which I haven’t seen yetLos muertos and La libertad, which I have) have both received quite a bit of attention from the usual suspects. If I have any rivals in my admiration for Martel, I have yet to read them. I’m a bit cool to Alonso’s conceptions, however, as the ones I’ve seen seem more like the rubber-stamping of certain world art-film expectations than as unique contributions to contemplative cinema; and you can skip Fantasma completely, as it’s all concept. All of them seem (except for Jauja) rather thin to me, and the distanced anthropological eye of some parts of Los muertos and La libertad was more than a little off-putting.

So why the ignorance or misunderstanding of La León? It likely has something to do with the politics of distribution which I have no knowledge of in this case, and of course, great films fall through the cracks all the time. Yet I suspect it’s just old-fashioned heterosexist bias on the part of many straight critics, and cultural glibness and superficiality on the part of gay ones

That IMDb commenter in the link is not the first gay male viewer who has professed to not understand what was going on in the film. Here in this post, I at least began to lay out what I thought was going on. But I’m baffled by anyone’s confusion about what seems to me a straightforward narrative. It’s not like we’re challenged by long shot-durations, as in both El Tercero and In the Family, or via odd, oblique camera angles, as in the latter.

Apparently, though, shooting in black and white is offensive or confusing to some yahoos, er, people. Maybe if lead character Alvaro had been prettier or not poor, it would have struck a chord with American gays. Maybe if the film included a serial killer. That always seems to help. I don’t know, maybe it’s just too sad. For me, La león, for its beautiful glimpse into an out-of-time Argentine riverine culture alone, belongs on the short list of great Latin American films of the last decade, and not just of GTMs.

English title: The Wound
Directed by John Trengove
88 mins, South Africa, 2017

Inxeba is as close to a masterpiece as any new film I’ve seen on Netflix and the service should be applauded for picking it up. It seems to have baffled and befuddled a few of the usual Letterboxd fetishists, however, despite its explicit subject of toxic masculinity and the film’s gruesome metaphors. Too woke for the Woke, I guess.

Giant Little Ones
Written and directed by Keith Behrman
USA, 2018

A lovely, easily repeatable experience which I wrote about here.

Directed by Roberto Fiesco
Mexico, 2015

Watch Trémulo here. My short note on this magical, musical film is here.

Directed by Alexandre Moratto
Brazil, 2019

A startling, stunning, moving debut feature, similar formalistically and stylistically to the Dardennes‘ movies, like Rosetta (Wiki) and The Son, in which the handheld camera follows/pursues/examines/exposes a driven and somewhat inscrutable lead character through his or her daily life in crisis. In Sócrates, the camera focuses literally and mostly on the face of first-time amateur actor, Christian Malheiros, making the audience concentrate on his emotions and reactions to events beyond his control. As Rosenbaum wrote about Irma Vep:

[Irma Vep’s] true subject is not the cinema but the body of its star, its material is not the image but Cheung herself, and its “problem” is not representation but the power struggles that swirl around her.

Life Intimidates Art by Jonathan Rosenbaum

Sócrates isn’t the wry, self-reflexive comedy that Assayas’s film is. It’s closer to social realism or materialism. Still, I suspect that the quality of attention you pay to the face of the character Sócrates will determine whether this film means much to you at all. Conceptions of power and privilege negotiate our responses right at the point where our eyes meet his.

Watch the trailer.

120 battements par minute
Directed by Robin Campillo
143 min, France, 2017

BPM is not my favorite Robin Campillo movie — that would be the underseen Les revenants — but this is the only fiction film set during the ACT-UP-era AIDS crisis that even comes close to accurately, honestly, and respectfully dramatizing the dialectic that spontaneously formed among a group of people who had to become experts about their own and their friends’ imminent deaths and still fuck around, fight the power, and dance to the wee hours. This movie isn’t the last word on that time, but it’s a good start to recovering it for modern short-term memories.

And Then We Danced
Directed by Levan Akin
Sweden | Georgia | France, 2019

Directed by Li Cheng
Guatemala | USA, 2018

El silencio es un cuerpo que cae
(Silence is a falling body)
Directed by Agustina Comedi
Argentina, 2017

Director Comedi uncovers her father’s and her nation’s gay past in this unique and invaluable freeform documentary/essay film from Córdoba, Argentina.

Here’s a video in which she discusses the film.

Making this movie was for me a dilemma for many years. How to tell your own story when it’s also the story of others? Why tell secrets, when for a long time there was so much effort in keeping them as they were and not precisely with guilt or pity? Why try to make others tell that that makes them so uncomfortable? A few years ago, when Argentina sanctioned a law allowing gay marriage, an activist said that that triumph was not only ours, because we had walked over other people’s footsteps. Everyone in my movie, in my story, left a footprint. With Silence is a Falling Body we built a web of affection and activism that I hope will continue to leave even more footprints to be walked over.

Agustina Comedi

Directed by Barry Jenkins
USA, 2016

I wrote a little something about Moonlight.

Call Me By Your Name
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Italy | France | Brazil | United States, 2017

Directed by Oliver Hermanus
South Africa, 2019

AI SYNOPSIS: Moffie is a 2019 South African-British war drama film based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by Andre Carl van der Merwe. The story is set in 1981 during the South African Border War, and follows the experiences of Nicholas van der Swart, a young conscript in the South African army. Nicholas is struggling with his homosexuality and the intense homophobia of the military culture. He befriends another gay soldier, Dylan Stassen, and the two begin a secret relationship. However, their relationship is discovered, and they are subjected to brutal punishment and abuse. The film explores themes of masculinity, sexuality, and the trauma of war. It has been praised for its powerful performances and its unflinching portrayal of the harsh realities faced by LGBTQ+ people in the military.

Eisenstein in Guanajuato
Directed by Peter Greenaway
Netherlands | Belgium | Finland | Mexico | France, 2015

Peter Greenaway‘s stylistically exuberant, speculative biopic about Sergei Eisenstein’s attempt to make ¡Que viva México! in Guanajuato and his accidental affair with a local guide, fails at most things it sets out to do, related to history and film history, in particular. (But maybe it’s a big middle finger to the purists devoted to both?) Yet it never bored me, in fact I was thrilled most of the time, and I’ll take its conceits, as well as its forthrightness and fun, over the pretentious, hand-wringing moralism of a piece of silly garbage like Shame, or the anti-sex, art-fag pretentiousness of Stranger By the Lake. Despite its flaws, I’d still call Eisenstein in Guanajuato a must-see, for the during-anal-sex political and cultural discussions alone. (It’s the most fun I’ve had with a Greenaway movie since The Falls)

Plus, penetration as an entry point to liberation is an idea I can get behind.

Ronny & I
Directed by Guy Shalem
20 mins, USA, 2013

I’m usually cool to Stateside gay solipsism, not matter how impressive they are formally or stylistically, and I usually pass over films with synopses like this one: “A young man comes to terms with his sexuality and his hidden love for his best friend.” Sound familiar? You bet it does. But Guy Shalem’s first-person, handheld account of such a scenario is a rare lucid and interesting example. Through deft, elliptical editing we’re shown the gestures and expressions of a friendship between two young men, mediated and recorded by a camera phone, through which the emotional responses seen and experienced are rendered all the more tender, intimate, and erotic. (There’s also some cum for Chucho.)

Desde allá
Directed by Lorenzo Vigas
93 mins, Venezuela | México, 2015

This Venice Golden-Lion winner impressed me with its expressive formalism — widescreen framings (a Cinemascope ratio of 2.66:1) with strategic and suggestive selective focus and elliptical narrative tactics — and its impeccable authenticity in depicting a Caracas-set gay-for-pay relationship. I’ve said before that there aren’t many movies featuring rent boys in which the sexual power dynamics ring true for me, but this is one of them. Robin Capillo’s estimable Eastern Boys is another. More than that film, however, From Afar felt like an update and correction to Barbet Schroeder’s quasi magically-realistic La virgen de los sicarios. Luis Silva wowed me as street kid Elder who moves from homophobic contempt to co-dependent, child-like loyalty in front of our eyes, timorous wonder flickering across his gaze at being awakened to live in a different kind of world, one in which he’s valued just for being a man.

Directed by Camille Vidal-Naquet
99 mins, France, 2018

I have an affinity for rent boys and their milieu. Because of my close involvement with a unique subculture in Prague c. 2003-2008, I’m sensitive to misleading or romanticized dramas about male prostitution. Although set in Strasbourg, France, Sauvage is one of those rare films about hustlers and hustling that depicts the life, the game from the perspective of a young gay man who sells his body daily for money and has to fight even harder not to sell his affections, his sensitivities, his self-worth for nothing.

Dolor y gloria
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Spain, 2019

I’ve never been a huge fan of Almodóvar, although I dutifully queued up for his art-house hits of the late 80s and early 90s and watched whatever else I could of his work because he was one of the few out gay filmmakers I knew about in my youth. But I actively disliked Talk to Her and stopped watching after that.

There was always something unfinished, unserious even, about the themes of his films but also the filmmaking. There always seemed to be something missing, something avoided.

Pain & Glory, on the other hand, presents a series of reckonings and almost-reconciliations and is exactly the sort of movie a 70-year-old, acclaimed gay European filmmaker should be making — mature, masterful, and moving. And honest. To my mind, this is Almodóvar’s first and only masterpiece.

Directed by Alvaro Delgado Aparicio
Peru, 2017

This one wrecked me. I had tears in my eyes during the first 15 minutes as 14-year-old Segundo beams with pride as his artisan-father Noé unveils his latest, stunning retablo, revealed through a slow dolly-back. Every heartbreak that follows proceeds from this small but deeply felt triumph.

Many thanks to Rod Thomas, of The Queer Review, for informing me about this film.

Directed by Eyal Resh
USA, 2016

I wrote a note about Boys in my review of a short collection called Love is the Drug. You can watch Eyal Resh’s Boys on Amazon Prime US. #CommissionEarned

Directed by Marcio Miranda Perez
Brazil, 2016

Inspired by an eponymous photography project by Shaffer Ooi, Perez’s short depicts a photographer and expert manipulator who roams nighttime Sao Paulo shooting nude men in unexpected, weird, awkward or dangerous locations. Like seemingly all Brazilian movies, the film has a specific and palpable sense of place and space as well as a rich and mysterious way of shooting and scripting human dialogue.

Alex and the Handyman
I mentioned this short in my notes on Boys on Film 17.
Directed by Nicholas Colia
USA, 2017

Trage liefde
Directed by Boudewijn Koole
The Netherlands, 2007

A bastard son goes to great lengths to get to know his gay father. Sparse but great jazz soundtrack.

Fifi az khoshhali zooze mikeshad
(Fifi Howls from Happiness)
Directed by Mitra Farahani
USA | Iran | France, 2013

AI SYNOPSIS: Fifi Howls from Happiness is a 2013 documentary film about the Iranian artist Bahman Mohassess, who was known as the “Persian Picasso.” The film follows Mohassess as he returns to Iran after spending many years in exile in Italy. The director, Mitra Farahani, meets Mohassess in his studio in Tehran, where he is working on his final series of sculptures. The film explores Mohassess’s life and work, as well as his personal struggles and political views. Despite his reputation as a celebrated artist, Mohassess is a complex and enigmatic figure, and the film provides insight into his creative process and his unique perspective on art and society. The film ends with Mohassess’s death in Italy, leaving behind a legacy as one of Iran’s most influential artists.

O Fantasma
Directed by João Pedro Rodrigues
Portugal, 2000

AI SYNOPSIS: O Fantasma is a 2000 Portuguese film directed by João Pedro Rodrigues. The film follows a young garbage collector named Sergio who becomes obsessed with a motorcyclist and begins to stalk him. As Sergio’s obsession intensifies, he becomes increasingly reckless in his pursuit of the motorcyclist, engaging in dangerous and violent behavior. Along the way, Sergio explores his own sexuality, engaging in anonymous sexual encounters with both men and women. The film is a provocative exploration of desire, identity, and the dark side of human nature. It features explicit sexual content and graphic violence, and has been controversial for its unflinching portrayal of taboo subjects.

The Mudge Boy
Directed by Michael Burke
USA, 2003

I’m not sure Michael Burke’s odd and slightly off-kilter, anti-sentimental depiction of young, failed masculinity qualifies for most as a “gay movie,” but it sure got me thinking about Eve Sedgwick’s The Epistemology of the Closet.

Directed by Andrew Haigh
USA, 2011

Directed by Marçal Forés
Spain, 2012

Stream it here.

The Love of Siam
Directed by Chookiat Sakveerakul
Thailand, 2007

I wrote about this sweeet character drama about young love in Thailand. You can watch it here.

Directed by Alexis Dos Santos
Argentina, 2006

If Gus Van Sant had been born in Argentina, he might have made something like Glue, sometime between Mala Noche and My Own Private Idaho. Cinematographer Natasha Braier, who also shot The Rover, I just discovered, long after mentioning liking the photography of that Australian thriller/road movie from 2014, improvs right along with the young actors, whose sexual and social daring is reflected perfectly in the film’s luminous, metamorphosing style and form.

El Primo
Available on the omnibus, Tensión sexual: Volatíl
Directed by Marco Berger
Argentina, 2012

I might get some shit for not listing any of Marco Berger’s feature-length films, all of which I enjoyed to some degree (Hawaii deserves another watch) but none of which encapsulate so forcefully and fearlessly all of Berger’s sexual and visual obsessions than this short — the most important obsession being, the male bulge, which is presented here almost like a character of its own. Javier De Pietro, scruffy and grown up a bit since he played Berger’s horny, man-chasing, high-school nymph in Ausente (2011), lusts after his friend’s cousin, but is too scared to make a move, despite el primo offering himself and his basket up repeatedly in no uncertain terms. Hilarious, sexy, frustrating in the blue-balls sense, and kind of sad all the way through, the short’s final, cut-short shot is a brilliant, funny snap of a character afraid to take chances, even though what he wants has been right in front of his cute little face.

The Big House
Written and directed by Rachel Ward
Australia, 2001

This surprising and subtle short depicts the believably scripted and nuanced love affair between a pair of cons in an Australian prison — one’s a lifer and one’s a young first-timer in for a petty crime. It’s funny, sweet but not cloying, and there’s barely any violence, which might help explain why it sank without a trace for so long. You can watch it on Vimeo, and yes, it’s directed by that Rachel Ward.

Before Night Falls
Directed by Julian Schnabel
USA, 2000

Lucky Blue
Directed by Håkon Liu
Sweden, 2007

I wrote a few words about this tender, goofy short here.

Directed by Vincent Dieutre
France, 2012

Brother to Brother
Directed by Rodney Evans
USA, 2004

The Nature of Nicholas
Directed by Jeff Erbach
Canada, 2002

Interior. Leather Bar.
Directed by James Franco and Travis Mathews
USA, 2013

Directed by James Franco
USA, 2013

The Broken Tower
Directed by James Franco
USA, 2011
My thoughts here.

Directed by Roberto Fiesco
Mexico, 2005

When skipping school to go to the movies, a young student who cannot speak decides against it after encountering an unemployed man attempting to engage with him. Their communication through messages and games leads to an unexpected discovery.

Watch David here.

Soy tan feliz
Directed by Vladimir Durán
Argentina | Colombia, 2011

SYNOPSIS: A Saturday winter day in fragments. At their family home, the Vittenzein brothers are alone. Mateo comes over to pick up Bruno and Camilo and drive them to their mother’s country cottage. They are drawn into the intimacy of a wasteland by a startling bang.

Watch it here.

Directed by Marialy Rivas
Chile, 2010

Watch Blokes.

(Frozen Flower)

Directed by Ha Yoo
Korea, 2008

Brokeback Mountain
Directed by Ang Lee
USA, 2005

Directed by Gus Van Sant
USA, 2008

Rabioso sol, rabioso cielo
(Raging Sun, Raging Sky)
Mexico, 2008
Mil nubes de paz cercan el cielo, amor, jamás acabarás de ser amor
(A Thousand Clouds of Peace)
Mexico, 2003
El cielo dividido
(Broken Sky)
Mexico, 2006
All directed by Julián Hernández

Directed by Jonah Markowitz
USA, 2007

Benjamin Smoke
Directed by Jem Cohen
USA, 2000

The Graffiti Artist
Directed by James Bolton
USA, 2004

How to Survive A Plague
Directed by David France
USA, 2012

We Were Here
Directed by David Weissman and Bill Weber
USA, 2011

United in Anger: A History of ACT UP
Directed by Jim Hubbard
USA, 2012

Directed by Adam Salky
USA, 2005 & 2009

Behind the Candelabra
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
USA, 2013

The Normal Heart
Directed by Ryan Murphy
USA, 2014

Les témoins
(The Witnesses)
Directed by André Téchiné
France, 2007

Presque Rién
(Come Undone)
Directed by Sébastien Lifshitz
France, 2000

Wild Side
Directed by Sébastien Lifshitz
France | Belgium | UK, 2004

Love Is Strange
Directed by Ira Sachs
USA, 2014

Mysterious Skin
Directed by Gregg Araki
USA, 2004

Perhaps because Araki worked off someone else’s material (Scott Heim’s eponymous novel) and therefore had at least a skeleton to hang his visual ideas and conceits on and around, putting his own adolescent ones on the backburner, this is the only Araki film after his funny, low-fi proto-slacker film, The Long Weekend (O’Despair), that I can get behind with any enthusiasm. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has never been better.

Chuck and Buck
Directed by Miguel Arteta
USA, 2000

AI SYNOPSIS: Chuck and Buck is a 2000 American independent film about two childhood friends, Chuck and Buck, who reunite after many years. Buck is still stuck in his childhood and becomes obsessed with Chuck, who has moved on with his life and has a fiancée. Buck begins to stalk Chuck and tries to rekindle their friendship, but Chuck becomes increasingly uncomfortable with Buck’s behavior. Buck’s obsession with Chuck leads him to create a play that is a thinly veiled retelling of their childhood experiences, which he stages at a children’s theater where Chuck’s fiancée works. The play’s content causes Chuck to confront Buck about their past and their relationship. The film explores themes of friendship, sexuality, and the consequences of refusing to grow up.

Benny’s Gym
Directed by Lisa Marie Gamlem
Norway, 2007

Watch it here. I wrote about it here.

Directed by Etienne Kallos
USA, 2006

Praia do Futuro
Directed by Karim Aïnouz
Brazil | Germany, 2014

I wrote about it in this post.

AI SYNOPSIS: Praia do Futuro is a Brazilian movie about a lifeguard named Donato who saves a German tourist named Konrad from drowning. The two men develop a strong bond and Konrad invites Donato to come live with him in Berlin. Donato leaves behind his younger brother Ayrton and his mother in Brazil and begins a new life in Germany with Konrad. However, their relationship becomes strained and Donato eventually returns to Brazil to reconnect with his family and confront his past. The movie explores themes of love, loss, and identity.

Directed by Hilton Lacerda
Brazil, 2013

AI SYNOPSIS: Tatuagem is a 2013 Brazilian drama film set in the 1970s. It follows the story of a young soldier named Clécio, who falls in love with a drag performer named Paulete. The two begin a passionate and unconventional relationship, despite the disapproval of Clécio’s military superiors and the conservative society around them. As their relationship deepens, Clécio becomes increasingly disillusioned with the military and begins to question his role in society. Meanwhile, Paulete and her drag troupe face their own challenges, including censorship and persecution from the authorities. The film explores themes of love, sexuality, freedom, and the struggle for self-expression in a repressive society.

Eastern Boys
Directed by Robin Campillo
France, 2013

Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho
(I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone)
Directed by Daniel Ribeiro
Brazil, 2010

Directed by Hong Khaou
UK, 2014

Last Summer
Directed by Mark Thiedeman
USA, 2013

Directed by Joseph Graham
USA, 2010

Einayim Petukhoth
(Eyes Wide Open)

Directed by Haim Tabakman
Israel | Germany | France, 2009

Avant que j’oublie
(Before I Forget)
Directed by Jacques Nolot
France, 2007

Directed by Eytan Fox
Israel, 2012

My review here.
Directed by Chucho E. Quintero
Mexico, 2014

My notes on this ribald short here.
Directed by Chucho E. Quintero
Mexico, 2017

Private Romeo
Directed by Alan Brown
USA, 2011

Directed by Omar Flores Sarabia
Mexico, 2013

Our Way Back
Directed by Moshe Rosenthal
Israel, 2018

A older married-to-a-woman man takes his younger lover on a hiking trip in the desert, avoiding patrols. Something happens that, shall we say, clarifies their relationship. Watch it here on Vimeo.

Protect Me from What I Want
Written and directed by Dominic Leclerc
UK, 2009

Directed by J.C. Oliva
11 min, USA, 2008.

En forelskelse
Directed by Christian Tafdrup
39 min, Denmark, 2008

Directed by Arnaud Dufeys
19 min, Belgium, 2012

Getting Go, the Go Doc Project
Directed by Cory Krueckeberg
91 min, USA, 2013

Jan Krüger and Oliver Schwabe
21 min, Germany, 20011

O Porteiro do Dia
Directed by Fábio Leal
25min, Brazil, 2016

I interviewed Leal and also posted a gallery of the film’s sex scenes.

En Malas Compañias
English title: Doors Cut Down
Directed by Antonio Hens
18 min, Spain, 2000

Writer/Director Hens’ hilarious short is honest enough to make his ultra-horny, toilet-cruising teenage character a bit of an asshole, if both charming and cute as hell. Rent it on Amazon using the link above, #CommissionEarned, or cheaper on Vimeo.

Al otro lado
English title: The Other Side
Written and directed by Rodrigo Álvarez Flores
15 min, México, 2017

This rather lovely, sad, and erotic short from México is the first film instance I can remember in which crossing the border to the USA is used as metaphor for sexual…I won’t say awakening or discovery, but a word more liberating and provisional in its implied goals perhaps — independence.

The film progresses via one long, non-linear montage, with edits and cutaways achieved via physical metaphors for uncoverings, discoveries, and surprises. Dreams and wishes merge with reality so that we can’t always be sure what or when we’re watching.

Kiss of the Rabbit God
Directed by Andrew Thomas Huang
15 min, USA, 2019

I wrote a short note about this impressive short film here.

Let me know your favorites in the comments.

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Tom Waldne
Tom Waldne
January 22, 2022 5:46 PM

curious as to what your thoughts were on “Your Name Engraved Within”?

What are your thoughts?x

Streaming is disabled until June 20th.