Thursday, September 17, 2009

Two REAAAALLY Dope Queer Movies

Here's the typical queer people of color story line: girl (or boy) falls in love with girl (or boy). First girl (or boy) goes on some long hero's journey toward accepting their "identity" before coming out to their family and being promptly put out on the street. Being queer is like the their biggest, most pressing life issue so when the originally girl (or boy) they fell in love with plays straight and breaks their heart, they either a) kill themselves, b) renounce their queerness and join a gang, or c) make their traditional mother happy by getting pregnant.

The end.

Obviously, the movies I like are a little bit more nuanced than that.

Here are two of my fav's:

Saving Face:
(Try to ignore the croaky white lady lesbian voice in the background)

Despite the fact that I've been on a Lynn Chen kick lately, I really dig this movie. Why? Because it's cute and awkward, which pretty much sums up every queer relationship I've ever seen or heard about. The two Asian American leads play their roles spectacularly. Neither goes through an overt "coming out" phase, and coming out is never positioned as something they have to do outside of their community.

Some of my friends have critique's, though. One said that it has a sadly typical representation of gender and too easily falls into the butch/femme narrative. I think it's more complicated to them. I mean, yes, the two main characters are a ballet dancer and surgeon, BUT I think there's important complexity in each representation. The so-called "butch" character isn't particularly emotionally powerful or sure of herself. The dancer (Chen), on the other hand, is kinda badass and advocates dramatic public displays of affection.

For both characters, family is important. And of course, there's the character of the mom, who turns queerness and acceptance on its head. Love. It.

QuinceaƱera (2006):

Not only does this film have a nuanced take on queerness, but it's probably one of the most honest and skillful critique's of gentrification I've ever seen. So. Fucking. Dope.

And it was made for only $40,000 in the filmmakers' neighborhood (not sure if they're the ones gentrifying East LA...)


Grace said...

I really like these movies too. Good choices. Have you seen La Misma Luna aka Under the Same Moon? Not a queer film, but one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. I think you would like it.

Jay said...

nope. haven't seen it. but thanks for the suggestion!

~Ami said...

saving face = one of my fave movies. yay!