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Let's Celebrate Pride In Film

By Left of Str8 Intern Merry

Cinema has always been a force for exploring human emotions, and giving us a window into the lives of people different to us in a variety of ways. Although diversity in film has been sorely lacking until relatively recently – and is still notably missing in mainstream cinema, there has been some award-winning films based on historical LGBTQ+ events, portraying the struggles and joys of LGBTQ+ lives. Pride Month is the perfect time to sit down and watch some of these masterpieces that discuss, equality, acceptance, and the celebration of identity. If you’re looking for some recommendations, read on!

"Milk" (2008), directed by Gus Van Sant, is a biographical film that chronicles the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California. Set in the 1970s, the film portrays Milk's journey from a closeted life to becoming a prominent gay rights activist and city supervisor in San Francisco. It highlights his political campaigns, advocacy for LGBTQ rights, and his tragic assassination alongside Mayor George Moscone in 1978 by fellow supervisor Dan White. The film celebrates Milk's legacy as a pioneer for civil rights and his impact on the LGBTQ community's struggle for equality.

"Dallas Buyers Club" (2013), directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof, a rodeo cowboy and electrician from Texas. In 1985, Woodroof is diagnosed with AIDS and given only 30 days to live. Frustrated by the lack of approved treatments in the United States, he starts smuggling unapproved medications from around the world, establishing the Dallas Buyers Club, where members pay monthly dues for access to these drugs. Alongside a transgender woman named Rayon, Woodroof battles the medical establishment and the FDA, becoming an unlikely but effective advocate for AIDS patients' rights. The film portrays his transformation from a homophobic outsider to a compassionate activist, highlighting the discrimination and challenges faced by the LGBTQ community during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.

"Pride" (2014), directed by Matthew Warchus, is a British historical comedy-drama based on true events. Set in 1984 during the UK miners' strike, the film tells the story of a group of LGBTQ activists who form an alliance with a small mining community in Wales. The activists, led by Mark Ashton, decide to raise funds to support the striking miners' families. Initially met with skepticism and hostility, the two communities gradually come together, finding common ground and solidarity in their respective struggles against oppression and discrimination. "Pride" celebrates the power of solidarity, friendship, and activism, highlighting the importance of unity in the fight for social justice and equality.

"Stonewall" (2015), directed by Roland Emmerich, is a drama film that fictionalizes the events leading up to the Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York City, a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history. The film follows Danny Winters, a fictional young gay man who leaves his conservative hometown for Greenwich Village, where he becomes involved in the emerging gay rights movement. As tensions rise due to police raids and oppression, Danny and his friends find themselves at the forefront of the riots at the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar. The film portrays the uprising as a catalyst for the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States, emphasizing the courage and resilience of those who fought against discrimination and police brutality.

And finally, for the music lovers, "Bohemian Rhapsody" (2018), directed by Bryan Singer (and later completed by Dexter Fletcher), is a biographical film about the British rock band Queen and specifically focuses on the life of its lead singer, Freddie Mercury. The film chronicles Queen's formation, rise to fame, and their iconic performance at Live Aid in 1985. It delves into Freddie Mercury's personal life, exploring his relationships, his struggles with his identity and sexuality, and his eventual diagnosis with AIDS. The film celebrates Queen's music and legacy while offering insights into Mercury's complex personality and his impact on popular culture. It concludes with a poignant tribute to Mercury's enduring influence, both as an artist and as an LGBTQ icon.

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