Year in review: queer films and performances

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There have certainly been some awesome LGBTQ movies and performances in 2021. Here’s a recap of the best (and worst) of this year’s cinema list.

BEST FILM : To flee

This gripping documentary tells the true story of Amin, the gay friend of director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, who he first met as a teenager in Denmark. Using animated and news footage, Rasmussen interviews Amin, who talks about his attraction to men and the hardships he and his family face when leaving Afghanistan. A poignant story about finding a home, “Escape” is personal and political – and undeniably touching.

BEST PERFORMANCE

TRANS: As Anna, a cisgender woman in her twenties who agrees to be a surrogate mother to Matt (Ed Helms), trans actress Patti Harrison looks fantastic in the poignant comedy “Together Together”. Harrison imbues Anna with a positive spirit and offers an engaging and grounded presence. Harrison makes viewers feel all the emotions of her character, especially when Anna berates a saleswoman when she thinks Anna is a single mom.

FINALISTS: Nomi Ruiz, an experienced transgender woman, made a strong impression in her feature film debut as a down-to-earth diva in “Haymaker,” the writer’s gritty, low-budget romance. / director / star Nick Sasso who riffed on the phrase “Bodyguard”. Likewise, Leyna Bloom made her auspicious film debut as Wye, a New York City kiki ballroom dancer in writer / director Danielle Lessovitz’s gripping drama “Port Authority.” Bloom was at her best when Wye was performing, but she is equally convincing in dramatic scenes.

FEMALE: In “Two of Us”, Barbara Sukowa gave a deeply moving turn as Nina, an elderly woman who put all her hope and confidence (and her money) to be with Madeleine (Martine Chevallier), the woman she loves – only unexpectedly denied her happiness forever. Sukowa’s nuanced performance makes Nina’s nervous and vulnerable dispositions palpable as her fortune rises and falls.

MALE: Udo Kier has a fabulous turn as Mr. Pat, an aging hairstylist, asked to hairstyle a deceased woman (Linda Evans) for her funeral in “Swan Song”. The reliable character actor delivers what is arguably the best performance of his career as Mr. Pat travels through town, reflecting on his life and experiences as a gay man.

BEST NEW: “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” featured a star performance by our gay actor Max Harwood as the main character in this screen adaptation of the irresistible West End musical about a teenage drag queen.

“Deadly Illusions” was one of the disappointing films of 2021.COURTESY OF KISS AND TELL PRODUCTIONS

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Director Chris McKim’s exceptional documentary ‘Wojnarowicz’ about the late gay political activist and multimedia artist uses his diaries, tapes, photographs, paintings and Super-8 films to tell his life and work. The film is a remarkable testament to the downtown artist as an angry young man.

FINALIST: “My Name is Pauli Murray” was an illuminating (albeit conventionally done) documentary profile of the remarkable queer, non-binary human rights activist, lawyer, poet and reverend. Murray was instrumental in tackling discrimination based on race and gender at a time when there was great risk in doing so. Through engaging interviews and Murray recordings, as well as testimonials from many talking heads, “My Name Is Pauli Murray” shines a light on a woman whose work is essential and largely unknown, but whose legacy is continues today.

THE SEXIEST FILM

Gay director Tsai Ming-liang’s “Days” portrays two men, Kang (Lee Kang-seng) and Non (Anong Houngheungsy), who eventually meet in a hotel room where Non massages the naked Kang before they go their separate ways. Tsai not only makes the encounter – a half-hour sequence brimming with eroticism – but the whole movie, extremely tender. The long takes and ambient sound contribute to the palpable feeling of nostalgia, loneliness, isolation and connection that makes Tsai’s work spellbinding.

FINALISTS: The passionate Chilean romance, “The Strong Ones”, chronicles the relationship that develops between Lucas (Samuel González) and Antonio (Antonio Altamirano) in a coastal town in southern Chile. The attraction between the two men is electric; attractive actors have great chemistry. Viewers are probably going to melt just watching these guys just staring at each other.

Bruce LaBruce’s “Saint-Narcisse” is a witty comedy about a handsome young man, Dominic (Félix-Antoine Duval) who sets off on self-discovery and discovers he has a twin, Daniel (Duval in a double role), a young monk. Their connection leads to an attraction – and yes, twincest! – but Daniel is held as a sex slave by Father Andrew (Andreas Apergis) who worships Saint Sebastian. Duval gives a selfless performance that exudes eroticism.

WORST MOVIE

“Deadly Illusions” was an often unintentionally funny and often puzzle erotic thriller about a writer (Kristen Davis) romantically involved with her nanny Grace (Greer Grammer), a woman who isn’t what she is. it seems to be. It was crazy, but not in a good way; it featured lousy dialogue, lead beat, and terrible acting. Worst of all, this lackluster film was disappointing – not because it wasn’t good, but because it wasn’t worse.


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