Monthly Film Bulletin: GagaOOLala

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. This month, Miruna Tiberiu is back with more recommendations of the freshest queer cinema out there. To welcome spring, the theme this month is childhood, with its wealth of experiences and realisations that you are faced with as you blossom into a young adult.


Tomboy (2007), dir. Claudine Natkin

Not to be confused with Céline Sciamma’s gentle musing on gender identity and childhood, this short from Claudine Natkin, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival, follows the titular tomboy, Chloe. At 10, her worries are simple; she must constantly prove to her all-male friendship group that she is as tough as any boy out there as she plays football, spits on the ground to assert dominance, and runs around the expanse of valleys that make up her hometown, passing the hot summer hours away. Things take a turn for the worse when Marie, a pretty, outgoing, and decidedly feminine little girl, infiltrates her friendship group. Threatened by Marie’s femininity, Chloe begins to doubt her tomboy status for the first time, and since no alpha male is ever doubtful, she tries to get back at Marie once and for all, with tragic consequences. A fresh take at the coming-of-age summer holiday narrative, shot in a deceptively-nostalgic camcorder-esque manner, Tomboy is a meditation on the hidden dangers of toxic masculinity beyond the cishet discourse, and the lengths you can go to in order to show that you are ‘just like the boys’.

Watch Tomboy here.


Mother Knows Best (2016), dir. Mikael Bundsen

This one-take-wonder places us on the dashboard of a car. It is the evening; we learn that a mother has just met her teenage son’s boyfriend over dinner. As they drop him off and drive home, the mother begins to express her doubts at her son’s openness concerning his sexuality. She is worried for his safety (haven’t we all heard that), and what plagues her most of all is that his dad, whom she has divorced, will not accept his son’s queerness. She urges her son to ‘promise’ her to be more careful, stop holding hands with his boyfriend in public, for his own good. A quiet short film from Sweden, Mother Knows Best tackles the generational divide and the often over-simplified notion of parents who accept their children’s queerness, yet reveal reservations which they refuse to address head-on.

Watch Mother Knows Best here.


Summer (2006), dir. Hong Khaou

The next film takes us on another nostalgic trip back to the summer of 2006, in Hampstead Heath. Two working-class teenage boys, Will and Leung, meet in the park to catch falling leaves; Will’s mum has told him they grant wishes. They talk as they search for these coveted leaves, the conversation swiftly turning to the subject of sex, as Leung gazes wistfully at Will. Hong Khaou’s short is bathed in the light of summer as much as that of first love. It is a coming-of-age tale about being in touch with your feelings even if you were raised in an environment that vehemently rejects them, about loving despite not having a language with which to express your love. It is also a tale about a tender male friendship, a remarkable narrative feat of its time.

Watch Summer here.

If you liked the sound of these, check out more of what is on offer on GagaOOLala!  


Miruna Tiberiu is the Editor-in-Chief of GAY45. She is a student at Cambridge University. Tiberiu has written for numerous publications, including The Cambridge Review of Books, and the Cambridge Language Collective. She is the co-founder and co-editor of Cambridge’s first all-queer magazine, Screeve. Tiberiu was longlisted for the International News Media Association (INMA)’s “30 Under 30” Awards 2023.

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