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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: after stonewall

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After Stonewall: A documentary about queer history from the Stonewall riots era through the new millennium. It features news footage and personal interviews and is a must-see for all queer youth.

Country: USA, 1999

Original Language: English

Rating: 4.5/5

Zavi thinks: Fun to watch, insightful, and available on Netflix instant watch – what more could I ask for in a documentary?  This one is definitely not just for the classroom; it’s enjoyable enough to just watch at home for the fun of it.

Panda thinks: Just watched this for the first time tonight!  For someone who considers themselves decently well versed in US queer rights history, I was blown away by the amount of new information presented to me by this documentary.  Lots of really amazing professional and amateur news footage–really gripping stuff.  It is essentially a very straightforward, condensed history of the modern US queer rights movement.  This is the sort of film that should be shown in public school history classrooms everywhere.

QMR: milk

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Milk: A fairly factual account of the personal life and rise to political power of LGBTQ rights advocate Harvey Milk.

Country: USA, 2008

Original Language: English

Rating: 4/5

Zavi thinks: Watching this film allows one to not only get a good overview of the facts and history surrounding Milk’s life, but also of the social and political climate of that era.  It really draws you into the struggles of the ’70s and ’80s for queers to obtain basic civil rights and be seen as valuable members of society.

Panda thinks: This was a movie that was waiting to be made for a long time.  With all history movies, the story essentially already exists, it’s just a matter of putting it on to film.  Some films of this manner are only worth watching for their historical value, but “Milk” is a masterpiece of storytelling as well.  Sean Penn is an amazing Harvey Milk.  This film could just as easily be shown in an American politics or history class as …

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QMR: sordid lives

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Sordid Lives: When forced to return to his small Texas hometown for a funeral, a young gay man must finally come out to his family, and the family as a whole must deal with its many secrets.

Country: USA, 2000

Original Language: English

Rating: 4/5

Zavi thinks: It takes a few minutes for this film to get rolling, but once it does, its complex layers of dry humor make it absolutely hilarious.  Billed as a “black comedy about white trash,” this film perfectly captures the unique nuances of being in a large Southern family, from the idea that ‘a-statement-isn’t-judgmental-if-you-say-bless-their-heart-at-the-end’ to the concept that ‘even-though-everyone-knows-we-just-don’t-talk-about-it’.  This movie isn’t just for the Southern niche, however.  Anyone who has ever left a small hometown for a larger city and experienced the challenge of coming home as a different person will relate to it.  This movie is endearing, silly and weird all at once and is great for group movie nights.

Panda thinks: I wasn’t sure what to think of this film …

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