When it comes to Queer cinema, the LGBTQ audience has very little to look for in terms of representation. Even though the present day and age has seen more representation than that of the previous decades, most representations come in the form of primarily western or white characters. Therefore, listing a diverse set of representations becomes all the more important. The following list however focuses on the Asian Queer cinema and the trajectory of movies revolving around the theme of coming out.
Barash directed by Michal Vinik
Barash is a 2015 Israeli movie that revolves around Neema Barash and the sudden disappearance of her sister. There is however a new girl in the school and she immediately charms Neema with her easy going ways and friendly personality. The teaser of the movie has two girls sitting next to each other and talking about the most attractive girls in school. The movie depicts with complete openness the two girls about accepting their sexuality. Highly regarded for its plot and treatment of its characters, Barash has gained world- wide acclaim for being a one of its kind movie about coming out.
Angry Indian Goddesses directed by Pan Nalin
This movie was lauded for being the first female ‘buddy’ movie and for having a narrative that rests solely on the intricate female relationships. But at the heart of it, Angry Indian Goddesses also has a marriage, a quiet wedding of Frieda and Nargis. In one of the very poignant scenes in the movie, Frieda wordlessly comes out to her friends by miming opening the doors of a closet. The acceptance and support of her friends is perhaps one of best aspects of the movie.
Happy Together directed by Wong-kar Wai
People don’t usually slot Happy Together as a movie about coming out of the closet. But for multiple reasons this movie remains emblematic of acceptance of the self rather than seeking validation from others. Lai and Ho make an eccentric, bordering on abusive couple, where Ho enjoys dominance over Lai and mistreats him. The film goes on to depict how Lai comes to accept himself, gathers all hope he has and begins to build a new future.
Butterfly directed by Yan Yan Mak
It is probably one of the finest movies revolving around queer relationships and coming out, this famous movie is based on a novel written by Xue Chen. During a not so chance encounter with Yip, Flavia remembers her first love with her best friend in school and how she had to hide under a guise of a heterosexual marriage because she was sure her family wouldn’t accept her. Still not quite over her first love, Flavia struggles to not fall in love again and most importantly to not admitting to herself the truth about her own self.
Kapoor and Sons is directed by Shakun Batra
A movie that had every inclination of being another story about a love triangle, Kapoor and Sons managed to surprise its audience. Rahul is the prodigal son who has a secret and it is that he is gay. Reunited with his family, he struggles to come out to them and get accepted. In the dramatic turn of events he does come out, but not without facing adversity. Kapoor and Sons manages to put coming out to one’s family as an important event and more so showcases it to the mainstream movie watching audience.
My Brother Nikhil directed by Onir
My Brother Nikhil probably didn’t receive the warmest of reception during its release because of its theme around same sex love and AIDS. Sanjay Suri plays Nikhil, a closeted swimmer, who contracts AIDS and hence has to admit to the world about her sexuality. The movie portrays the struggles of being gay and having AIDS in India during the 80’s. Onir is probably the first gay director who is open about his sexual preference in the Hindi Film Industry and has made movies that revolve around the queer identity.