By Miruna Tiberiu
GagaOOLala is a Taiwan-based streaming service which aims to bring together queer stories of all genres from around the world. As the first LGBT-focused media platform in Asia, GagaOOLala curates feature films, shorts, documentaries, and series from the past few years, as well as producing its own original content. In the run up to World AIDS Day at the start of December, this month’s film bulletin is dedicated to LGBT+ films that delve into the experience of living with HIV today, particularly in non-Eurocentric contexts. A commemoration of the lives we have lost, and a reminder of how far we have come in the battle for queer medical rights, these films are heartwarming, hopeful, and innovative. Here are our recommendations.
The Day Began Yesterday (2020), dir. Julián Hernández
A quiet, gorgeous romantic drama shot in ochre and jade tinted hues, The Day Began Yesterday follows the transformative encounter between two queer men who meet in the bathroom of an HIV clinic in Mexico. Orlando, a university gymnast, has been living with HIV for a while, refusing to allow his diagnosis to prevent him from living his youthful years, learning about desire, and finding love. Saul, on the other hand, gets diagnosed early on in the film and finds himself rethinking everything about his lifestyle, his future, and his very identity. Whilst at first polar opposites, the two learn from each other as they become closer and fall in love. The film’s director Julián Hernández does not point the audience towards either perspective, but rather allows the two protagonists to change in the film’s real time, which makes for a poignant narrative of transformation and affirmation of identity whilst living with HIV in modern day. The two build this egalitarian relationship of trust as their relationship blossoms – placed within this context, the sex scene between the two is beautiful, raw, and refreshingly genuine. Whilst tinged with the trauma suffered by the generation of the LGBT+ community who lived through the AIDS Epidemic not that long ago, Hernández’ short immortalises a battle won, at least in part, where his protagonists are not fated to a life of only suffering and ostracization.
Watch The Day Began Yesterday here.