As US recovers from the most devastating mass shooting on American soil, it brings with it the same tired statements: “We condemn these attacks... We stand united...”
There is precious little that words can do now as the country reels from the deadliest attack since 9/11.
But what leaders can’t accomplish, movies can. They inspire and uplift in terrible times. They can inform and open rigid minds. They can ignite conversations in ways no politician can.
Humanity might not be inclusive, but movies are.
We give you a list of films from all over the world that prove that in times of tragedy, we are all the same. Our politics might be different, but if there is one thing everyone responds to, it is love.
Gus Van Sant’s Milk is a seminal gay pride film. It won Sean Penn an Oscar for his rousing performance as Harvey Milk, who was, in many ways, the father of gay pride. It pushed a fringe genre into the mainstream and began a new wave of LGBT cinema.
Matthew Warchus’ Pride is perhaps the most inspirational film on this list. It shows that love truly does eclipse hatred and that even the most rigid of minds can be converted through kindness. Set against the backdrop of Thatcher’s England, the film shows oppression of many kinds. It shows just how powerful we can be if we stand united.
While it may not be the best film about gay pride, Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall is an important film because it tells the origin story of this movement – the Stonewall riots, which incidentally celebrates its anniversary this week.
Angry Indian Goddesses (2015)
The protagonist of this radical film creates an elaborate plan to reveal to her friends that she is a lesbian. The group, who think they are attending a wedding, go through a series of events they would never have anticipated.
Margarita, With a Straw (2014)
A teenage girl suffering from cerebral palsy discovers that she is bisexual. Kalki portrays Laila, an extraordinary woman with ordinary desires. A captivating story of self discovery and love, the film believes the only change one needs is the ability to accept.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Brokeback Mountain was a film ahead of its time. The Academy balked at its progressive politics and didn’t give it the Oscar award for Best Picture. But because of it, the world woke up to Heath Ledger.
The Kids are All Right (2010)
This one is maybe one of the most realistic gay dramas ever made. The most amazing thing about this movie, about a lesbian couple played by Annette Benning and Julianne Moore, is that you forget that they’re a lesbian couple at all.
Aligarh is a unique film. Told with restraint, respect, patience and love, its a gentle exploration of the life of a homosexual professor subjected to social cruelty. Where it should have been angry, it displayed maturity. And Manoj Bajpayee’s melancholic performance made it all the more inspiring.
A Single Man (2009)
Before Aligarh, there was Colin Firth’s A Single Man. Directed by fashion designer Tom Ford, its a gorgeous film about a lonely professor trapped in a world that doesn’t accept him.
Carol is so many things. It’s a period piece, a romantic drama, a feminist fable. You don’t even realise that it’s also a film about same-sex love.
Two married women in different phases of their lives, both sexually abandoned by their husbands, find love in each other. The film brings home the point that women too have desires, which can be fulfilled in more ways than one. An attack on patriarchy, the movie depicts love as a private emotion.
Along with TV shows Transparent and Orange is the New Black, and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, Tangerine ensures that trans people are appropriately represented in entertainment. They are the minority in a minority, and such films are doing great work in furthering their cause.
My Brother Nikhil (2005)
Onir’s film is hailed as the first Indian film that talks about gay relationship respectfully. He highlights societal discrimination, while sensitively telling a story that about a difficult subject: HIV. For a country as conservative as ours, it was a brave film, the kind we need more of right now.
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