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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: 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: if these walls could talk 2

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If These Walls Could Talk 2:  This film explores different cultural and political eras of lesbian history by following the storylines of lesbian couples in three different decades.

Country: USA, 2000

Original Language: English

Rating: 4/5

Zavi thinks: This movie is neat for several reasons.  One, it makes the challenges that queer women have faced over the decades personal to the modern-day viewer.  Two, the fact that all three of the stories (from the ’60s, 70’s and ’00s) are set in the same house provides a neat central link.  Three, none of the stories are cliches, which is quite refreshing.  My favorite story is the first one, of the elderly couple in the ’60s (warning: is very sad though :P).

Panda thinks: It was weird to see Ellen in this movie, playing a real lesbian ha.  I thought the storyline about the struggle between ‘liberated’ lesbians and butch/masculine/genderqueer lesbians was a good example of conflicts that arose during second wave feminism (and that some of these divides still …

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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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