While films like 2005’s ‘Imagine Me and You’ and more recent foreign language hit ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ have hit a chord as good queer lady led media, 2014 saw a stark lack of queer, female representation on the movie screens.
Festivle-wise, this year started out well, with some great queer female films (both feature and short films) being produced and shown around the world at the main LGBT festivals. However, sadly fewer films about lesbians, bisexual and trans people made it onto the big screen, or even on the arthouse circuit. Most of these films headed straight to DVD and VOD releases. In contrast, it was a great year for gay men on the big screen.
So what were the highlights of 2014?
Pride, the moving culture-clash comedy about the gay activists who joined the 1984 miners’ strike in solidarity, was the biggest hit of the year, and looks likely to become a future classic. Its perfect balance of sharp humour and crowd-pleasing celebration made it a hit with audiences and critics, and it romped home with this year’s Queer Palm at Cannes.
The biggest release was Concussion, an intelligent and intriguing tale of a gay woman who becomes a sexy escort following a car accident. Stacie Passon’s film benefits from an excellent lead performance from Robin Weigert and was a hit at most LGBT Festivals.
Reaching for the Moon
There was also Reaching for the Moon, about the love affair between American poet Elizabeth Bishop and Brazilian architect Lola de Macedo Soares. Glória Pires is terrific as Soares.
The Case Against 8
A documentary that is shot more in the traditional sense, The Case Against 8 as filmed across 5 years as those in California struggled to overturn Proposition 8, the law that saw the liberal-leaning state of California ban gay marriage. Before the ban, California did allow for gay marriage, with high profile couples like Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi actually getting married just prior to the ban, which is why many saw it as ludicrous when Prop 8 actually passed.
As a result, The Case Against 8 is a phenomenal watch as it follows the team that took the first marriage equality case to the U.S Supreme Court in a move that has led the way for many couples to do the same and progress the same-gender marriage rights across the United States.
So what can we look forward to this year?
With Hollywood’s ever-changing mind-set and the calls and money of queer media fans making loud noises, things are looking to change in 2015
The Duke of Burgundy
The Duke of Burgundy, has been described as a “dark melodrama” that “follows the intense relationship between two women”, the official synopsis also states that Duke of Burgundy is about “a woman who studies butterflies and moths tests the limits of her relationship with her lover in Peter Strickland’s third feature film, following Katalin Varga and Berberian Sound Studio. The Duke Of Burgundy is produced by Andrew Starke for Ben Wheatley’s Rook Films.”
52 Tuesdays is a feature-length drama that tells the touching story of a 16-year-old coming to terms with her mother’s gender transition.
“The sensitively observed drama is distinguished by its structurally adventurous approach and the intimacy of its storytelling.”
David Rooney, The Hollywood Report
‘Three Generations’ explores the questions of identity and family ties. With Malificient actress, Elle Fanning, playing a New York City teen Ray, who is transition from female to male. Naomi Watts will play Ray’s single mother, Maggie, who must come to terms with raising her only daughter as a son. Long-time LGBT ally, Susan Sarandon will play Maggie’s mother Dolly – a music manager who lives with her lesbian partner and has a hard time understanding her grandchild’s decision.
Carol is the upcoming film from filmmaker Todd Haynes, which is an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 50s lesbian pulp novel The Price of Salt. While lesbian pulp novels usually ended in tragedy (it would have been blasphemous to end them in blissful romance) Highsmith broke barriers by doing the opposite. In The Price of Salt the lead falls for a young woman – a department store clerk and artist – and spoiler alert (!) it ends in a way that lets us imagine that the two women end up happy together.
Playing the two leads are Cate Blanchett as Carol and Rooney Mara as the younger woman, whilst Sarah Paulson and Carrie Brownstein (Paulson and Brownstein are both openly queer) play two other women in Carol’s life.