To honor the rich and multifaceted nature of Pride, MUBI has put together an eclectic collection of films this June, highlighting some of the most iconic moments of queer history and artistry. From Rohin Raveendran’s The Booth, which portrays a romance beyond time and place to Emma Seligman’s hilariously chaotic Shiva Baby, each film presents a different, yet equally crucial perspective of the queer experience.
Dive deep into the films this month, and keep discovering these always bold, often joyful, and utterly unapologetic stories all year long. We recommend streaming the following films for Pride Month:
Blending documentary and fiction, Lizzie Borden’s film Born in Flames is a reflection of the politics in the 80s from a queer Black female perspective. This provocative cult indie classic is a fantasy of female rebellion set in America ten years after a social democratic cultural revolution. When Adelaide Norris, the black radical founder of the Woman’s Army, is mysteriously killed, a diverse coalition of women come together to challenge the structural inequalities.
The diverse group crosses all lines of race, class, and sexual preference and emerges to blow the System apart by taking over the ultimate power source: the Media. While the film is celebrated as an afro-futurist classic, it is a must-watch film for women everywhere, especially in today's political climate. It offers a strong feminist critique of social issues that continue to plague society even in the present day.
Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu's lesbian drama Rafiki tells the powerful tale of love. In the film, Kena and Ziki live very different lives in Nairobi. The two girls remain friends despite a political rivalry between their families. When friendship makes its way to love, the two are forced to choose between happiness and safety. A poignant reflection of so many queer lives and inspried by Monica Arac de Nyeko's Jambula Tree, Rafiki is a strong portrayal of same sex relationships in the Kenya context. A fight for love despite the ever-watching gaze of society. Also look out for the film's stunning visual style because of Christopher Wessels’ gorgeous cinematography.
Indianara is a Brazilian documentary that follows the journey and struggles of transgender activist and revolutionary Indinara, who fought for the survival of transgender people in Brazil. The film was shot during tumultuous times in Brazil, when Michel Temer was president and her fellow trans-ally Marielle Franco was killed in cold blood. A fiery organizer for trans and sex worker rights and leader of Casa Nem, a queer sanctuary in Copacabana, Indianara is a force to reckon with. Directors Marcelo Barbosa and Aude Chevalier-Beaumel first met Indianara at a protest, where she was topless and waving the rainbow flag while reading out a list of transgender people murdered that year, and immediately decided to follow her work. The film is a culmination of documenting two years of Indianara's life and standing by her side. A powerful film on vulnerability, hope and fighting for one's rights.
The Booth, the short film by Mumbai-based filmmaker Rohin Raveendran Nair (previously featured here), is one of the subtlest and most beautiful portrayals of 'forbidden love'. The story follows a female frisking booth inside a crowded shopping mall, which stands as a silent ally to a forbidden romance. It gives us a glimpse at the secret love between Sargam, a college student (Parna Pethe) and Rekha, a frisking officer (Amruta Subhash). An observant short about desires and acceptance, it's an interesting take on love in public spaces, and how a booth becomes an claustrophobic yet empowering space for two women to be their true selves. We love how beautifully the ordinariness and hidden desires of the two characters is brought out!
Xavier Dolan is a master of storytelling. His latest offering Matthias & Maxime is an intimate, bittersweet study of male friendship and love. It follows the experiences of two childhood friends, Matthias and Maxime, who have to kiss as a part of the scene in a student film that they accidentally agree to participate in. That kiss brings up a flood of long-repressed emotions and unexpressed desire. What ensues is subtle and powerful exploration of queer love between the two characters. A beautiful film on friendship, longing, love and masculinity. Make sure to keep tissues next to you while watching this because it's a real tear-jerker of a film!
Shiva Baby A fascinating, often hilarious film by debutant director Emma Seligman, Shiva Baby is set over the course of one heady afternoon at a highly stressful Jewish shiva (wake) in Brooklyn. It follows the life of Danielle, a college student who has to cover her tracks when she unexpectedly runs into her sugar daddy at a shiva with her parents, ex-girlfriend and family friends also in attendance. An incredibly well-written black comedy that brings out the awkwardness, insecurities and all the emotions in between on the screen loud and clear. An impressive debut feature by Seligman, for whom we are certainly going to keep an out for in the future.
This month, we're collaborating with MUBI India to make great cinematic experiences available to everyone. We’re happy to share that all The Alipore Post readers get a free month-long subscription to MUBI India! Head to mubi.com/aliporepost to start your free 30-day MUBI trial!