The Best Movies To Catch At Queer Screen’s 2021 Mardi Gras Film Festival
For the first time ever, the Mardi Gras Film Festival is available to stream on-demand.
Curate your own LGBTIQ+ film festival experience.
Queer Screen’s 28th Mardi Gras Film Festival is just what we need right now – a welcome dose of queer, inclusive, and compassionate storytelling. The full Queer Screen bill is here and not only is it fabulous but most of the program is available to watch on-demand.
Running from February 18 to March 4 in Sydney, and nationally on-demand, the festival will screen with restricted and socially distanced viewings. Whether you’re able to go to the cinema or feel more comfortable at home, Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival has excellent queer cinema to immerse yourself in. Tickets are available now, so we put together a sneak peek of some of the flicks to get excited for.
Summerland (in cinema)
If you’ve always wanted to see Gemma Arterton play a grouchy yet soft cottage-dwelling lesbian, this is the film for you. Set in the picturesque English countryside during the blitz of World War 2, Alice is busy with her thesis and nursing a heartache when she’s saddled with the care of young evacuee Frank. I had the pleasure of watching Summerland last year so take it from me: this film is a stunningly shot, heart-mending tale of love finding its way back to someone, even when all hope is lost.
Cured (on-demand and in cinema)
This riveting documentary examines the pivotal, yet largely unknown, chapter in LGBTIQ history that saw gay liberation activists successfully overturn the US psychiatric profession’s classification of homosexuality as a mental illness. The documentary uses archival film and photos, recently discovered audio recordings, as well as new interviews from those who lived through it. A warning for those who watch: it contains graphic images of past treatments doctors used to “cure” homosexuality.
These Thems (on-demand and in cinema)
These Thems is a seven-part queer comedy series following two friends whose lives change forever after a visit to the gynaecologist. When thirty-year-old Gretchen realises she might be a lesbian she’s taken under the wing of non-binary “straight whisperer” Vero, who’s recently discovered their ability to explain gender and sexuality to even the most oblivious cis-het person. Putting their newfound skills to the test, they give Gretchen a crash-course in navigating the queer world.
The Greenhouse (in cinema)
One of a handful of fantastic queer Australian films in the program, The Greenhouse asks what would you do if you could go back in time? Beth, a young woman bereft when one of her mothers passes away, follows a vision into the garden and discovers a greenhouse that sends her into the past. Here, her mother is alive and Beth is taking her first steps in trying to deal with, or ignore, her own burgeoning sexuality. Don’t miss your chance to see The Greenhouse before everyone else – it’s making its world premiere at Queer Screen.
No Hard Feelings (on-demand and in cinema)
For fans of Xavier Dolan’s filmography, No Hard Feelings feels like a spiritual sibling to Dolan’s work, with its micro-focus on relationships and experiences of chosen queer families versus biological family. The German film follows three young Iranian immigrants who cross paths at a refugee centre and deals with first love through a lens of displacement and modern hook-up culture.
Rūrangi (in cinema)
Starring, written, and produced by members of New Zealand’s queer, Māori, and gender-diverse communities, Rūrangi perfectly balances drama, humour, and heart. The dramedy shows the power of embracing one’s identity in all its forms when gay transgender activist Caz returns to his isolated hometown in New Zealand. It’s screening in cinema on the last night of the festival, and it’s a great choice to close out this year’s Queer Screen.
Transformistas (on-demand and in cinema)
Go behind the makeup and under the wigs to meet the queens who defied the status quo and carved a path for the Cuban LGBTIQ community in this enlightening and joyous doco. Filmed without government permission, these drag queens will stuff, pad, and perform their way into your heart in this incredible true story of Cuba’s first gay bar and how they helped change a nation.
The Obituary of Tunde Johnson (in cinema)
Tunde Johnson (Steven Silver, 13 Reasons Why) is nearing the end of high school with the world at his feet, but fate has other plans as he is stuck in a time loop nightmare of the day he was killed by police. Each morning he wakes and takes a slightly different path with how he plans to come out to his parents, his battle with Xanax addiction, and his interactions with his best friend and his hot, but closeted, boyfriend. But do all paths lead to the same fate?
Goodbye Mother (Thưa Mẹ Con Đi) (on-demand and in cinema)
Funny, always heart-warming, and with a scene-stealing grandma, Goodbye Mother follows the classic tale of the prodigal son returning home with a Vietnamese twist. When Van returns from the United States, he brings with him plans to come out and introduce his boyfriend, Ian, to his mother. But when he discovers his mother is ill, he finds himself in a predicament between familial responsibility and leading the life he chose.
Supernova (in cinema)
I had the privilege of sobbing through this film at the end of last year. Supernova stars Colin Firth as Sam and Stanley Tucci as Tusker, woolly-jumper-wearing husbands taking a road trip in their camper with their dog. Sam and Tusker have been together for twenty years and remain passionately in love. But when Tusker was diagnosed with early-onset dementia two years earlier their lives were changed forever.
Despite a slow-down in film production and distribution in 2020, Queer Screen’s 28th Mardi Gras Film Festival has plenty of screenings to offer, however you want to watch.
And with so much to choose from, the Queer Screen App can help you browse all the movies, create a wish list, and buy a flexi pass to get more tickets for less. iOS users can even stream films directly from the app to a smart TV. It’s available for free on the App Store and Google Play.
Queer Screen’s 28th Mardi Gras Film Festival is screening in cinema in Sydney and on-demand nationally for the first time. This year’s festival will screen 94 feature, documentary, short, and episodic films with 70 percent of films available on-demand. See the full program and get tickets here.
(Lead image courtesy of Queer Screen)
Merryana Salem is a proud Wonnarua and Lebanese–Australian writer, critic, teacher, researcher and podcaster on most social media as @akajustmerry. If you want, check out her podcast, GayV Club where she gushes about LGBT rep in media with her best friend. Either way, she hopes you ate something nice today.