June 2019 marks another year for Pride Month celebrating the achievements of the LGBT* community, including its continued battle for equal rights, its self-affirmation and its diversity while increasing its visibility in society through parades and other global events.
2019 is also the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a spontaneous action which took place in June 1969 in the Greenwich Village district of Manhattan, New York. Much has changed in the cultural landscape since the riots took place, and with Pride Month in progress, what better way to mark the occasion than to take a look back over the last fifty years at the ever shifting landscape of LGBT* representation in cinema?
LGBT* issues have been present in movies for many decades, with themes of sexuality smuggled in early movies before acceptance of other sexual orientations became more widespread, leading to an an increasingly open portrayal of LGBT* motifs and themes. Some of these films explicitly explored the social and political ramifications of LGBT* politics, while others delve into the intimate side of those relationships and how discrimination can be a toxic influence.
From exploring the underground gay culture of late sixties Tokyo to youths coming to terms with their sexuality, here are the essential LGBT* movies you should watch this Pride Month.
15. Funeral Parade Of Roses
Toship Matsumoto's Funeral Parade Of Roses is one of the hidden gems of the Japanese New Wave; a refreshingly sly and transgressive work of film which stars the androgynous Japanese performer and cross-dresser, Peter exploring the gay subculture of late 60s Tokyo.
Loosely based on the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, even by today's standards it's something of an edgy piece of work, and a standout entry point for the early years of international Queer Cinema. It represents the convergence of two distinct communities - cross-dressers and gay men - with the avante garde artists of the time forming a triumvirate of creative energy, captured by Matsumoto's roving, wide angled lens.
A little known fact (or at the very least, internet rumour) about Funeral Parade Of Roses is its influence on Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, although it could be argued that Kubrick's film shares little with the film beyond the desire to provoke conservative-minded audiences.