Asian and Asian-American LGBTQ+ Movie Recommendations Part II


Welcome aboard to another set of LGBTQ+ movie recommendations that you could add to your watchlist!
 
Photo credits to IMDb

1. Yes or No (2010)

The 2010 Thai romantic comedy-drama Yes or No, starring Sucharat "Aom" Manaying and Suppanad "Tina" Jitaleela, was directed by Sarasawadee Wongsompetch. It is the first Thai lesbian-themed movie featuring a "tom" (i.e. butch) lead role.

Pie comes from a Thai upper-middle-class family that upholds traditional beliefs and practices, such as their outspoken opposition to homosexuality. On the other side, Kim exudes a determined masculinity that defies convention and intimidates Pie from the moment they meet. As a result, Kim seeks a roommate switch right away, which the institution rapidly rejects.

As their friendship grows, Pie and Kim question whether their feelings for one another are genuine love or just an ordinary friendship.

Photo credits to GoldPoster

2. The Handmaiden (2016)

A con artist posing as "Count Fujiwara" in Japanese-occupied Korea who intends to lure Lady Hideko, a Japanese heiress, marry her, and take her to an asylum in order to steal her inheritance. He employs Sook-Hee, a thief, to serve as Hideko's maid and persuade her to marry him.

As the Count realized he couldn’t play with Hideko’s head, he instead convinced her to be a part of an elopement scheme. The Count gives Hideko a bottle of opium to use as a suicide weapon when she shows her dread of her uncle so that she can never be brought to the cellar alive. Hideko requests that the Count locate a maid who she may hire and then send to an asylum in Hideko's place.

Instructed by the Count, who takes advantage of Sook-Hee's illiteracy, Hideko unintentionally develops feelings for her. When Sook-Hee insists on continuing the marriage despite Hideko's attempts to profess her love, Hideko tosses her from the room and makes an attempt at hanging herself. She is saved by Sook-Hee, and both confess their schemes. In order to inform her family that she has joined forces with Hideko and to develop a plan to free herself and Sook-Hee from the men who have been controlling them, Hideko assists Sook-Hee in writing a letter. Hideko shows Sook-Hee the books she was forced to read and Sook-Hee begins trashing the library. Hideko joins part in the destruction of her uncle's collection and refers to Sook-Hee as "her savior."

Kim Min Hee, Kim Tae Ri, Ha Jung Woo, and Cho Jin Woong star in Park Chan Wook's 2016 South Korean psychological thriller The Handmaiden. It is based on Sarah Waters' 2002 novel Fingersmith, which had Korea under Japanese colonial control as the backdrop instead of Victorian-era Britain.

At the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the movie was chosen to compete for the Palme d'Or award. On June 1st, 2016, it was released in South Korea. The movie was well-received by critics, who praised the writing, direction, and acting. Over $38 million was made in total sales. The movie won the Best Film Not in the English Language category at the 71st British Academy Film Awards.

Photo credits to Filmaffinity

3. Saving Face (2004)

The central character of this romantic comedy is Wilhelmina Pang, also known as Wil (Michelle Krusiec), a brilliant young doctor in New York, US, who was a secret lesbian before her mother, Hwei-Lan (Joan Chen), who longed for her daughter to wed. Hwei-Lan takes her to social events where she can meet potential Chinese bachelors. Wil encounters the stunning Vivian Shing (Lynn Chen) in one of these congregations. Contrary to her father's wishes for her to join the New York City Ballet, dancer Vivian wants to pursue a modern kind of art. The two ladies get close, but Wil is reluctant to confess her emotions for Vivian in front of others. Dramatic circumstances follow, and they start to drift apart.

American romantic comedy-drama Saving Face was directed by Alice Wu in her first full-length project. Since The Joy Luck Club (1993), it was the first Hollywood film to feature a Chinese American lead.

The word "face" itself alludes to the social concept of face in East Asia. This film won the 2005 Golden Horse Film Festival's audience choice award.

Photo credits to IMDb

4. The Half of It (2020)

Ellie Chu, a friendless student who lives in the isolated village of Squahamish, earns extra cash by writing assignments for her fellow pupils. Paul Munsky, an inarticulate football star, asks her to compose a love letter to Aster Flores, a student at their school. Aster is in a relationship with Troy, a guy from a wealthy family. Ellie starts a loving letter and email exchange with Aster. Aster thinks she is communicating with Paul, but the two women connect over their common love of art and literature.

Another masterpiece by Alive Wu, the 2020 American coming-of-age comedy-drama The Half of It stars Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer, and Alexxis Lemire play the lead roles and supporting cast members include Enrique Murciano, Wolfgang Novogratz, Catherine Curtin, Becky Ann Baker, and Collin Chou. The movie explores lesbian desire from an Asian American perspective, which is uncommonly featured in mainstream Hollywood cinema and offers a unique perspective on the coming-of-age genre.

Photo credits to Wikipedia

5. I Can’t Think Straight (2008)

Rich Christian Palestinians Reema and Omar are preparing for the marriage of their visiting daughter Tala to Hani in Jordan at the upper levels of traditional Middle Eastern culture. Leyla, a young British Indian Muslim woman who is dating Tala's best friend Ali, is a face Tala encounters while at work in London. The uninspired, clumsy, and sensitive Leyla, who secretly trains to be a writer, catches Tala's eye. And Tala's direct challenges to Leyla's ideas set the course of her path toward self-awareness. Following a weekend retreat in the countryside, Tala and Leyla start to fall in love. However, due to her own sense of obligation and cultural constraint, Tala separates from Leyla and takes off for Jordan, where the planning for an extravagant wedding is already well underway.

I Can't Think Straight is a 2008 romantic drama film based on Shamim Sarif's 2008 novel of the same name. The movie was made by Enlightenment Productions, and was distributed in the US by Regent Releasing and Here! Films.




References
https://www.bfi.org.uk/lists/streaming-watchlist-10-lgbtq-films-from-east-southeast-asia
https://www.lifestyleasia.com/bk/living/film-and-tv/asian-lgbtq-movies/




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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