The 35th edition of the Annual New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival by NewFest concluded on 24th October where I had a gala time watching some of the finest queer feature films from across the world.
Below is a list of the ten best films at the festival, ranked in descending order of preference:
10. A Place of Our Own / Ek Jagah Apni
A Hindi language film from India that chronicles everyday struggles faced by hardworking trans people, Ektara Collective’s film is around the myriad issues centred around the protagonist finding a house to live. Minimal and low on showy cinematic tropes, the Bhopal-set film is intricately woven around the local cultural fabric making us sympathize deeply with their trauma of various kinds.
9. Golden Delicious
As mainstream as the word would ever get, Jason Karman’s Canadian drama is a thoroughly entertaining and relatable queer drama with Cardi Wong’s mind-boggling lead performance (a personal favorite at the festival, this season). Although the melodrama quotient is notably high, the confrontation scenes are significantly elevated by their very design on paper.
8. The Lost Boys
A slow, dim drama set in a juvenile home; Zeno Graton’s film can test your patience but is not one without feeling. While the central romance feels intimate as it glows in the actors’ chemistry, the supporting cast is equally palpable as are several plot devices in the screenplay.
7. The Mattachine Family
Lovingly shot by DOP Julia Swain with glossy, colorful frames, Andy Vallentine’s film is a good-looking tearjerker. Whether it’s a traditional biological family or one that we choose eventually in life, nothing beats the emotion of going home to someone – asserts the film. Lastly, Andy Vallentine saves the brightest scene to the finale. Wait for it and you will exit the show with a smile on your face.
6. Fancy Dance
Erica Tremblay’s Indie is a festival favorite and a thoroughly enriching watch. One with layers of many of many genres, the film oscillates between being a fine human drama and a crime thriller. Lily Gladstone’s glowing performance is easily the cherry on the cake.
5. Big Boys
Narrated at a slow yet blissful pace, Big Boys is a realistic adolescent coming-of-age drama. Isaac Krasner’s lead act is the highlight of Corby Sherman’s heartfelt film which is worth every minute you spend watching it.
4. Summer Solstice
A brief holiday with their straight, cis-gendered friend turns revelatory for transman Leo in Noah Schamus’ poignant directorial debut. Bobbi Salvör Menuez delivers a highly inspired leading act whereas the director’s nuanced screenplay gives us umpteen moments to cherish and mull over.
3. All The Fires
The strongest thread in Mauricio Calderón Rico’s film is that of nostalgia. In other words, it is about a teen relying on a remnant from the past in his urge to man up in the most conventional of ways. Headlined by Sebastian Rojano’s buoyant central act and Rico’s nuanced screenplay, the film – despite not exclusively being about sexuality – strikes all the right chords.
2. All the Colours of the World Are Between Black and White
One with a fascinating title, Tunde Apalowo’s film is about a Nigerian man coming to terms with his sexual orientation. Quiet yet powerful in so many ways, this Lagos-set drama allows you to empathize deeply with its leading man despite a definitive lack of gloss and showy writing.
1. Lie With Me
A powerful romantic drama centered on nostalgia and the irrevocable sentiment for lost love, Olivier Peyon’s film is one of the most gut-wrenching titles of the year. Incredibly acted and rich in dramatic moments, Lie With Me examines unusual personal dynamics with sensitivity and feeling.