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Best Lesbian Films (10+1list)

Best Lesbian Films

written by Souranath Banerjee

In the year 2013 a brilliantly artistic film called Blue Is the Warmest Color won the Palme d’Or, the highest honor awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.

Blue-is-the-warmest-color-posterDirected by Abdellatif Kechiche, it is (according to me) probably the most sexually graphic and emotionally potent cinema essentially based on a lesbian relationship.

Now, the word ‘lesbian’ essentially refers to women who are romantically and/or sexually attracted to other women; a female homosexual.

And in spite of homosexuality being a taboo for years, excellent (queer) films have been made on lesbianism (even on gay or bisexual relationships) throughout the history of world cinema that respects and honestly portrays the love between two human beings regardless of their gender.

So, here are some of the Best Lesbian Films that successfully represents lesbian relationships on celluloid.

10. Bound (1996) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kA0K66yQxo

bound-posterBefore venturing into the world of The Matrix, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski (as The Wachowski Brothers) debuted in filmmaking with this gritty lesbian sex crime drama!

A suitcase stashed with money ready to be stolen, a master plan that needs to be executed to perfection and two girls who seem to be madly in love – but can they trust each other till the end?

9. My Summer of Love (2004) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1L45nP7FOo

my-summer-of-love-poster1From the Oscar Winning director Pawel Pawlikowski, this is the tale of two young women who over the summer season gives company to each other and soon starts a passionate lesbian love affair!

A delicately shot film that tip toes on the trust factor of the relationship, and explores so many facets of women. Though the ending is not exactly what you expect it to be!

8. Margarita, with a Straw (2014)  

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zy3F0WVDK0

Margarita-with-a-Straw-posterDirected by Shonali Bose and Nilesh Maniyar, a film that largely revolves around a lesbian relationship of a young girl with cerebral palsy.

(Click for review)

Finally, an Indian film that dares to explore the sexual urges of a disabled person and also makes us realize that their attractions and infatuations are in no ways different from any of us.

7. Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ2yZjnPwQc

heavenly-creatures-poster1One of Peter Jackson‘s earlier films, this is a biographical account of two young girls, deeply attached to each other and living in their own fantasy world.

But things turn unfortunate as their parents sensing their friendship to be too intimate than desired, tried to separate them.

The debut film of Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey.

6. Show Me Love (1998)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtpXpFylSn0

Show-Me-Love-posterTwo cute teenage girls in a small town and their love story – well the film is exactly that and fortunately much more.

Directed by Lukas Moodysson, this is a film that touches the depths of so many emotions and depicts love, friendship and teenage infatuations from a very simple yet realistic point of view.

A film that makes you laugh and cry at the same time.

5. Aimee & Jaguar (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DdmtmVvCBg

Aimee-Jaguar-posterDirected by Max Färberböck, the film is about the courageous lesbian relationship between a Jewish girl (disguised under a German name) and a German housewife during the time when Jews were being mercilessly hunted down from all around Europe.

Historically significant as well since it’s a biographical account and it’s captured on screen with such brilliance.

4. Carol (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4z7Px68ywk

carol-poster4A young girl attracted to a married older woman who openly seduces her, an impulsive spark of romance that makes their lives both volatile and euphoric.

(Click for review)

Directed by Todd Haynes, a perfect lesbian love affair beautifully put on screen, a liaison between two people most unexpected of falling in love!

3. The Killing of Sister George (1968)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Clqfsd7sYJU

killing-of-sister-george-posterA superb black comedy and a somewhat unusual way of portraying a lesbian relationship.

Brilliantly directed by Robert Aldrich, this film is all about elderly Sister George and her young girlfriend and then the various twists and turns in their relationship.

Excellent characterizations and superlative performances that ensures the film’s brilliance.

2. Fire (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnshN0wqiCo

fire-poster1Directed by Deepa Mehta, this is one powerful Indian film that tells the story of two wives from a middle class family who being frustrated by their loneliness and dissatisfied sex-life ignites a lesbian relationship among themselves.

Bold and thought provoking – though globally appreciated and well received but was predictably banned in India right after its release!

  1. Persona (1966) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amxvetvKfho

persona-posterA nurse is assigned to take care of an actress who doesn’t want to speak anymore, and soon the two women find themselves curiously attached, and their personas seem to mysteriously coincide with each other.

Though any direct lesbian relationship is never implied in this Swedish classic, but then acclaimed director Ingmar Bergman masterfully plays with the complexity of the women’s psychology and their instincts. A treat to watch for Cinema lovers!

Even in the films like David Lynch‘s Mulholland Drive and Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan, the lesbian theme is only a part of the main plot which somehow manages to dominate the films.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most unique one. A must watch).

+1. Mädchen in Uniform (1931)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnlAS-hMtic

Mädchen-in-Uniform-posterA classic lesbian drama (probably the first of its kind), and not surprisingly the film achieved a cult status.

Directed by Leontine Sagan and Carl Froelich, this is the story of a young girl falling in love with her (lady) teacher within the strict restrictions of a boarding school.

The German film though initially had great success was later banned and prints destroyed during the Hitler regime.

A few other Lesbian films which didn’t make the list are:

Club de femmes (1936), The Children’s Hour (1961), Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), Another Way (1982), i-cant-think-straight-poster1The Kids Are All Right (2010), Saving Face (2004), I Can’t Think Straight (2008), Room in Rome (2010), High Art (1998), Desert Hearts (1985), The Fox (1967), The Secrets (2007), The Duke of Burgundy (2014), Monster (2003), Dyketactics (1974) (Short), The Runaways (2010), and The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972).

A few TV Movies that explore lesbian relationships:

If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000), Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story (1995), The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (2010), Daphne (2007), The Truth About Jane (2000) and Gia (1998).

A few TV Series that are essentially developed with lesbian themes:

Tipping-the-Velvet-posterFingersmith (2005), Tipping the Velvet (2002), Portrait of a Marriage (1990), Sugar Rush (2005), The L Word (2004), Anyone But Me (2008) and South of Nowhere (2005).   

And finally, a few documentaries that explore lesbianism:

Paris Was a Woman (1996), Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (2009), Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives (1992) and Word Is Out (1977).

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comcinema.comwww.iwannawatch.to.

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