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QMR: beautiful boxer

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Beautiful Boxer: Based on a true story, this film explores the life of Parinya Charoenphol (Nong Toom), a famous Thai kickboxer, who uses the money and influence gained from her winning matches to facilitate her gender transition.

Country: Thailand, 2003

Original Language: Thai and English

Rating: 4.5/5

Available for purchase on Amazon.

Zavi thinks: This is such a powerful story, and it’s even more amazing because it’s true.  This is one of the best representations of a trans character that I have ever seen in a film (other representations of similar caliber include Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry and Bree in Transamerica).  I also found it incredibly refreshing that this film is both a “trans” film and an “overcoming obstacles” story, even though it is an unfortunate testament to trans exclusion in media that Nong Toom’s story of eventual success was so surprising.  Another random refreshing aspect of this film is that this is the first time I’ve ever seen a …

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QMR: when night is falling

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When Night is Falling:  After the death of close friend, Camille, a teacher at a conservative Christian college, starts questioning everything in her life and embarks into an unexpected romance.

Country: Canada, 1995

Original Language: English

Rating: 4/5

Available for purchase on Amazon.

Zavi thinks: The romance in this movie feels very real, and that’s probably my favorite part.  Camille’s struggle to make sense of her desire for a woman is fully played out, and anyone who has ever experienced unexpected romantic feelings will relate to her story.  Definitely a good movie to watch on a date night.

Panda thinks: I think this is definitely the best film that Patricia Rozema has ever made (some of her earlier films were just a bit too strange and arthouse-y).  I felt that Camille fully examined and dealt with her conflicted feelings, as opposed to some lesbian films where main characters seemingly without care throw their past life away.  The complexity of this movie made it feel very …

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QMR: the wedding banquet

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The Wedding Banquet (Xi Yan): A Taiwanese-American gay man living happily with his partner succumbs to the pressure of his overbearing traditional parents and arranges an elaborate sham hetero wedding.

Country: Taiwan/USA, 1993

Original Language: Mandarin Chinese and English

Rating: 3.5/5

Available for purchase on Amazon.

Zavi thinks: Many people don’t realize that Brokeback Mountain was not the first major gay film that Ang Lee directed.  This film will always hold a special place in my memory because the first time I watched it was for a Chinese language class (and I think the staff who selected it did so because they knew there were a large number of queer students in the program).  That random fact aside, many scenes in this movie are hilarious, especially the parts where the main character is ‘being straight’ while on various female dates.

Panda thinks: I am a big fan of Ang Lee and really enjoyed seeing one of his earlier films.  It’s neat to see how much …

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QMR: tipping the velvet

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Tipping the Velvet: This three part series follows the life of a young lesbian in 19th century England as she struggles to find a relationship and career. Based on the novel by Sarah Waters.

Country: UK, 2002

Original Language: English

Rating: 4/5

Available for purchase on Amazon.

Zavi thinks: ‘Made for television’ movies are a totally different thing when done by the BBC rather than Hallmark or Lifetime.  This film is a fascinating fantasy trip and is very well made.  The first time I watched it was quite late at night, and I had decided I would just watch one segment – yeah right.  Even though each part is an hour long, I just couldn’t stop watching.  Each of the three sections have a totally different feel to them, ranging from light to dark to surreal, yet they fit together quite well.

Panda thinks: Weird at times and somewhat dark, this film contained a lot of elements that I wasn’t expecting, such as BDSM.  I …

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QMR: ma vie en rose

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Ma Vie En Rose (My Life In Pink): Young Ludovic is confident that ze was meant to be born a girl and that god just made a small mistake, but convincing hir family and community proves to be harder than anticipated.

Country: France, 1997

Original Language: French

Rating: 5/5

Zavi thinks: Though this film is overall lighthearted, it touches on many quite serious issues, such as hate crimes and class differences.  As an innocent child, Ludovic simply cannot understand why others feel so threatened by hir non-binary gender, and hir struggle to be hirself brings up the issue of gender panic. Though dealing with some very adult issues, the young star of this film remains utterly endearing.

Panda thinks: Ma Vie En Rose effectively blends fantasy and reality, much in the way that I imagine a child’s mind would.  The film offers a unique first person perspective on the early struggles of child questioning hir gender.  I really love the color and the lighting in this movie.  It …

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