Asian and Asian-American LGBTQ+ Movie Recommendations Part I


The LGBTQIA+ community still struggles to fight for their rights even after many decades. They are forced to conform to society’s standards and definition of what love should look like. As we, at OBRAA, believe that LGBTQIA+ people should be celebrated every month and not just during pride month, we listed gay film recommendations for people who are part of the rainbow community.

The following LGBTQ+ movies have developed into a potent medium for raising awareness and illustrating the hardships of the community to a wider audience by capturing subjects like homosexual marriage, sexual orientation, and gender identity juxtaposed against societal restraints. These films are also made more captivating by each Asian country's unique perspective on community.

Photo credits to Filmaffinity

1. Happy Together (1997)

A gay couple from Hong Kong named Ho Po-Wing and Lai Yiu-Fai had a turbulent relationship characterized by repeated splits and reconciliation. They fly to Argentina together but part ways after getting lost on the way to the Iguazu Falls. Fai starts working as a doorman at a tango bar in Buenos Aires because he doesn't have the money to travel home, while Po-Wing leads a reckless lifestyle and is frequently spotted by Fai with other men. Po-Wing steals from one of his friends and is severely assaulted after Fai accuses Po-Wing of blowing all of his money and leaving him stranded in Argentina. Po-Wing is housed with Fai in a cramped rental room while he takes care of his wounds. They try to rekindle their relationship even though it is already tainted by jealousy and suspicion from both sides.

Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-wai star in the 1997 Hong Kong romantic drama film Happy Together, which was directed by Wong Kar-wai and explores their tumultuous relationship. The Turtles' 1967 song of the same name served as the basis for the English title, which Danny Chung recorded for the movie's soundtrack. The title in Chinese is an idiomatic word that denotes "the exposure of something intimate."

The movie, which received favorable reviews and screened at a number of film festivals, including the 1997 Toronto International Film Festival, was thought to be one of the best LGBT movies produced during the New Queer Cinema movement. It was nominated for the 1997 Palme d'Or and won Best Director at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.

In a vote conducted by the British Film Institute in 2016, the movie was ranked as the third-best LGBT movie of all time. And in a poll conducted by BBC in 2018, it was ranked as the 71st best foreign language movie of all time.

Photo credits to MovieMie Enthusiast

2. Your Name Engraved Herein (2020)

Two male students, Chang Jia-han (A-han) and Wang Bo Te (Birdy), fall in love after the martial dictatorship is lifted in Taiwan in 1987 amid pressure from their families, homophobia, and greater social change. A-han and Birdy, two new students who are also musicians in the school band, quickly become the best of friends at an all-boys Catholic high school. They engage in escapades while sharing long stares. Father Oliver, the school's priest and band director, advises the pupils to "profiter du moment" (live in the moment), which causes A-han and Birdy to become closer. The two boys travel to Taipei, purportedly to mourn the passing of President Chiang Ching-kuo, but end up becoming closer because of their experiences there.

Despite having an interest in one another, they are nevertheless cautious to pursue their growing attraction. Their relationship is complicated by the development of co-educational schooling because the presence of female students permanently alters classroom dynamics. A-han refuses to let go of his love for Birdy even though the latter attracts the attention of a female classmate, who provides the possibility of a socially acceptable heterosexual romance. Conflict and reconciliation occur repeatedly, bringing the duo together and tearing them apart until destiny eventually separates them.

Edward Chen, Jing-Hua Tseng, and Leon Dai star in the 2020 Taiwanese love drama Your Name Engraved Herein, which was directed by Patrick Kuang-Hui Liu. The movie had its world premiere on Netflix on December 23 after its Taiwan premiere on September 30. The most well-received Taiwanese film of 2020 and the highest-grossing LGBT film in Taiwan history, Your Name Engraved Herein is the first gay-themed film to gross more than NT$100 million in Taiwan.

Five Golden Horse Award nominations were given to the movie, which took home prizes for Best Cinematography and Best Original Film Soundtrack.

Photo credits to Filmaffinity

3. Suk Suk (2019)

The 2019 award-winning and highly regarded Hong Kong drama film Suk Suk, also known as "Twilight's Kiss," was written and directed by Ray Yeung. It tells the tale of two elderly married men who are closeted homosexuals. The movie was chosen to compete in the 70th Berlin International Film Festival's Panorama category.

A married, 70-year-old guy named Pak (Tai-Bo) has an adult son and daughter. He has the opportunity to visit male pickup sites while driving a cab throughout the city. Hoi, on the other hand, is a 65-year-old single parent who resides with his son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. He is played by Ben Yuen. Hoi relates to a "gay and gray" club, however, he keeps this from his family.

They run into each other by coincidence and quickly become quite close. The next part of the story shows how they handle the constraints of society and the challenges they encounter. This movie is one of the most heartbreaking Asian LGBTQ+ films and is based on the non-fiction book Oral History of Older Gay Men in Hong Kong (2014). Despite the families they had established, the encounter awakens a long-repressed yearning in them both and causes them to consider a future together.

Suk Suk was nominated for the Grand Prix at the Brussels International Film Festival in 2020 and won Best Narrative Feature at the Florence Queer Festival.

Photo credits to IMDb

4. Dear Ex (2018)

A young guy named Song Cheng-Xi becomes caught up in a contentious argument between his mother and a free-spirited man, who is both Song's recently deceased father's insurance beneficiary and lover (Chen).

The movie Dear Ex was a great hit in Taiwan and had a significant impact on the public discussions that led to the region's legalization of same-sex unions in 2019. It is propelled by two standout performances: Roy Chiu, who dazzles as the struggling theatrical director Chieh, and Hsieh Ying-Xuan, whose raucous performance as the patient but intolerant spouse earned her a Golden Horse award. This captivating movie raises important social issues regarding the legal privileges of LGBTQ+ couples by focusing on the young boy caught up in the conflict between the warring ex-couples.

Mag Hsu and Hsu Chih-Yen co-directed the comedy-drama movie Dear Ex, which was released in Taiwan in 2018. The movie was chosen as Taiwan's entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards and garnered largely favorable reviews from critics, although it was not nominated.

Photo credits to IMDb

5. The Wedding Banquet (1993)

Simon and Wai-Tung Gao are a content gay couple who reside in Manhattan. Being in his late 20s, Wai-Tung's conservative parents are impatient for him to get married and have children in order to carry on the family name. When Wai-Tung's parents hire a dating service, he and Simon create a number of unreasonable demands in order to buy time. They specified that she must be 5'9", have two PhDs, and speak five languages. Unexpectedly, the service did find a 5'8" Chinese woman who sings Western opera, speaks five languages, and has a single Ph.D. When Wai-Tung explains his predicament, she is cordial because she is also hiding a relationship (with a white man).

In response to Simon's pressure, Wai-Tung chooses to wed Wei-Wei, an impoverished artist from mainland China in need of a green card. Wai-Tung and Simon hope that this will appease the former’s parents. Simon gives Wei-Wei all the information she needs about Wai-Tung's physique, and way of life before Wai-Tung's parents arrive. The three remove all references to homosexuality from their home and replace them with traditional Chinese scrolls.

The Wedding Banquet is a 1993 romantic comedy movie with Winston Chao, May Chin, Gua Ah-Leh, Sihung Lung, and Mitchell Lichtenstein in it. It was directed by Ang Lee.

The production of this film is a collaboration between Taiwan and the United States.

If you enjoyed this list, stay tuned to another set of LGBTQ+ movie recommendations from us as we have more like this coming!


Marjorie Ann M. Patricio is a Digital Marketing and Brand Development intern of PS Media Enterprise. She is currently a 4th-year Communication Research student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta. Mesa, Manila.


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item Asian and Asian-American LGBTQ+ Movie Recommendations Part I
Asian and Asian-American LGBTQ+ Movie Recommendations Part I
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