Written by Jonathan Mahon-Heap
A homecoming, a plague, a fading diva, and star-crossed lovers — the future of queer cinema is here.
A homecoming, a plague, a fading diva, and star-crossed lovers. What saves the beats of these LGTBQ stories from cliché are their makers — if we were in any position to be talking about the future, the future of queer cinema is here. INDEX selects their four highlights of the queer cinema scene.
Jeremy O’Harris’ Slave Play broke Broadway last year, as the author and now Gucci-influencer penned the city’s most controversial play. Spinning the ‘gotcha’ joy of an addictive Twitter thread into 90 minutes of lurid joy, Zola is plumped by studio A24 (L.A. studio behind everything good from Lady Bird to Moonlight), as “a 48-hour journey involving a nameless pimp, an idiot boyfriend, some Tampa gangsters and other unexpected adventures in this wild, see-it-to-believe-it tale.”
My Little Sister
“Don’t come too close, I have cancer”, jokes fading but unflinching actor Sven (Lars Eidinger) to his sister Lisa (Nina Hoss), in this rawly funny look at twin siblings and their slipping grip on fame. Sven’s is due to illness, Lisa’s due to a different brand of bad luck, and both devise a way to create something that can salvage their careers, and, perhaps, themselves. A film festival favourite, Hoss and Eidinger are restrained, charming, and unaffectedly moving in this black comedy.
Welcome to Chechnya
A grimly involving look at a purge happening this instant, David France (who also directed the 2021 documentary How to Survive a Plague, an Oscar-nominated look at the Act Up movement) swivels his lens to ongoing LGBTQ persecution in the repressive and closed Russian republic of Chechnya. Using deep fake tech to shield locals’ identities, it’s a heroic and terrifying look at the under-reported atrocities occurring, and where to go from here.
While the cultural crevasse caused by Covid is yet to hit, a slate of film festival hits might yet fall into it. Fresh off of the film festival circuit, and still circling wide release, Francis Lee’s follow-up to his queer masterpiece God’s Own Country stars Saoirse Ronan and Kate Winslet as fossil-hunting paleontologist Mary Anning (Winslet), and the married woman (Ronan) whom she falls in love with. An ammonite is a soft, sea slug, encasing itself for protection in a very hard shell in much the same way Winslet’s character is expected to. Come for the desolate beauty of Lyme Regis, stay for the embers of attraction.