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Best Lesbian Films ever made (10+1list)

Best Lesbian Films ever made

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Lesbian Films ever made: 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.

Lesbian-filmsDirected by Abdellatif Kechiche, it is (according to me) the most sexually graphic and emotionally potent cinema essentially based on a lesbian relationship.

Now, the word ‘lesbian’ 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 ever made that successfully represents lesbian relationships on celluloid.

10. Bound (1996) 

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

Lesbian-filmsBefore 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

Lesbian-filmsFrom 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

Lesbian-filmsDirected 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

Lesbian-filmsOne 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

Lesbian-filmsTwo 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

Lesbian-filmsDirected 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

Lesbian-filmsA 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

Lesbian-filmsA 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

Lesbian-filmsDirected 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

Lesbian-filmsA 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 layered part of the main plot.

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

Lesbian-filmsA 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), The Kids Are All RightLesbian-films (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:

FingersmithLesbian-films (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).

Similar Interest: Best Transgender Movies ever made

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

Best of Women-centric films (10+1list)

Best of Women-centric films

written by Souranath Banerjee

What exactly is the definition of a  ‘WCF’ aka ‘Women-centric Film’

color-purple-posterIs it just another name for feminist films, or some upcoming trend/genre or may be it’s simply another way of film publicity?

Well, from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (woman in action) to Bridesmaids (women having fun), from Kahaani (woman taking revenge) to Blue Is the Warmest Color (woman in love with woman); any film steered by one or more central female characters is automatically tagged as a WCF.

And why not?

In these male-dominated movie industries (Hollywood, Bollywood or thelma-and-louise-posterany wood for that matter), any damn story told while keeping the female-protagonist(s) in mind is sufficient enough to qualify!

But then again, some so called ‘Women-centric Films’ are special in their own ways.

These movies not only have female actors playing the lead but they also highlight certain feminist issues that are often too sensitive to mother-india-posterofficially protest and yet so very important to be addressed and recognized in our society.

And thus, here is a list of a few hard-hitting female oriented dramas from across the world (no biographies and documentaries are considered though).

Let’s not just wish and celebrate one particular day of every year as ‘Woman’s Day’ but respect and cherish the women in our lives each day of every single year!

10. Far from Heaven (2002)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qje4IEAQpQ

far-from-heaven-posterAn emotional tale of an apparently content housewife with her husband and two kids but then, woman often endure a lot to portray themselves ‘happy’ within the norms of our community!   

Brilliantly directed by Todd Haynes, this film is not only showcases a gender biased society but also about the way people treated the colored and the homosexuals of the time. 

9. Matrubhoomi: A Nation Without Women (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AI9r0pnAhs

matribhumi-posterA powerful cinema that delves with the issue of female infanticide.

Directed by Manish Jha, this one is a raw and brutal portrayal of the mindset of certain men and the tolerance level of the vulnerable women in certain parts of rural India.

A cinema that deserves more recognition as it doesn’t flinch to portray the scars of our society.  

8. Vagabond (1985)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIqgGc_3n1I

vagabond-posterDirected by Agnès Varda, this one is based on a young traveling woman, a maverick vagabond, who has no aim, no money, no place to stay, and yet she roams around the freezing country side of France, independence being her only true company.

Made up of short interviews and flashbacks, a film like no other, celebrating the free spirit of a woman!

7. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2W0TeuHbJ0

fried-green-tomatoes-posters1A film that says a lot about women, the way they are often treated and then, the way they demand to be treated!

Directed by Jon Avnet, this film is of course a take on the injustice that women are forced to withstand, but more importantly it is a film that celebrates the love and friendship between two women, and the profound impact of it in our male dominating culture.

6. Moolaadé (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUWSwJfz8gI

Moolaadé-posterWe in the big cities, secured within our comfort zones often indulge into debates on feminism and the rights of women. But somewhere in Africa, little girls are still subjected to female circumcision and those who rebelled against this painful tradition are whipped to silence!

Directed by Ousmane Sembene, this daring film deals with the issue of female genital mutilation in a way that demands attention and respect.

5. Children of Men (2006)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VT2apoX90o

children-of-men-posterA SiFi thriller by definition, but the entire film revolves around the protection of a pregnant woman who is the key for the future of mankind. 

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, a classic in many ways but the best thing about the film is the profound manner in which it pays tribute to woman as the mother figure.

A true celebration of womanhood indeed.

4. Dahan (1998)

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

dahan-posterAn Indian film (regional language Bengali) that deals with the aftermath of the tragic incident of molestation of a woman by five unknown men.

From the acclaimed director Rituparno Ghosh, the brilliance of the film is that it doesn’t directly emphasize on the aspect of molestation of women, but gives more prominence to the people’s reaction towards the victim.   

3. Lilya 4-Ever (2002)

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

lilya-four-ever-poster1A Swedish film of a sixteen year old girl and a little boy (her only friend), and how they struggle and dream for a better life.

Directed by Lukas Moodysson, this is the story of all those poor young girls across the world who, without proper parental guidance and education gets sucked into the whirlpool of darkness, sexually exploited and abused, their innocence lost forever.

2. Water (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7uM-CbzIAI

water-posterThis one from highly acclaimed director Deepa Mehta is a stunning portrayal of the widows in India who are forced into a life of extreme sacrifice and poverty. 

In the holy city of Varanasi, the film concentrates on a group of widows of varied ages but with the same doomed fate, sheltered in a temple without much resources. But then some of their lives begin to change for the better!

  1. Persona (1966)

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

persona-posterA thrilling drama, and the most psychologically twisted cinema on the persona of women.

Nobody knew the intricate complexities in the mind of a woman better than Ingmar Bergman – their needs, their secrets, their love, their dreams and their power to hate!

And this one is a classic in every aspect, and indeed the best WCF of all times!

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

+1. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels (1975)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih3nBxjkBH8

Jeanne Dielman-posterA widowed housewife taking care of her teenage son and her household as best as she can; an exceptional film that meticulously follows the life of this woman to its minuscule details.

Directed by Chantal Akerman, with minimal dialogues and long takes of certain daily chores, like having dinner, reading books, bathing, cooking e.t.c, this film has succeeded in portraying a women who is very much a known part of our society and yet somehow remains invisible, empty and alone.   

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.nordicposters.comwww.newyorkerfilms.comnoinpart.wordpress.com