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, bringing the spotlight to three new short films available now on the platform.


Those Who Can Die (2017), dir. Charlotte Cayeux

Beneath the façade of an intolerant boarding school environment lurks a deeper web of danger. Zoé, a teenager, arrives at the new school she is forced to call home from then on. Resembling a hospital more than a learning environment, the drab walls, consistently grey skies, and muted monochromatic unform begin to suggest that this is not a regular school. Filmmaker Charlotte Cayeux allows rivulets of surrealism to trickle into this setting, drop by drop, to spine-chilling effects. As Zoé learns more about the destiny this school has forced onto her, the real, ugly world of the film reveals itself to the viewer. She meets Marie, the only other student who seems to have a little life left behind her eyes. The two find connection in the most hostile of environments, building a strength to fight against the system together, as a pair. They discover, however, that some systems are too well-established, too cemented in the fear of the unknown of their subjects, to be escaped through love alone. An exercise in subtlety of performance and shot, Cayeux’s short speculative fiction is best experienced before it is unpicked and analysed.

Watch Those Who Can Die here.


Goodbye, My Baby (2022), dir. Wei Chun Mo

Built upon the foundations of Taiwan’s breadth of dreamy queer cinema, this short film follows the reunion of a lesbian couple that has broken up but finds connection again in the face of hardship. One night, Yuan Qing calls her ex-girlfriend Lin Yongkie to ask if they could meet. Reluctant at first, Lin eventually agrees, finding out that Yuan needs to be accompanied by her for an abortion. Their reunion triggers a turn to the past. Coupled by a dreamy ambient soundtrack and nostalgic camcorder shots from the time they were a happy couple wandering the streets of Taipei, believing they would be together forever, the film shifts between the cold, dark night in which they meet again, complete with the anxieties of Yuan’s upcoming abortion, and these carefree scenes of the past. This provides and unlikely context within which the pair communicate about their shared past, coming to terms with the question marks left by their swift breakup. It is as if they cease to be strangers for one night alone before they embark on their separate journeys once more. It is as much about reconnecting with the past as saying goodbye to it. In this way, Wei Chun Mo forges a love story that does not buy into the romcom happy ending yet creates a breath-taking portrait of nostalgia – for long-gone romance, for the spaces that are special to the protagonists – and the beautiful coincidences that float around one’s life waiting to be lived through.

Watch Goodbye, My Baby here.


The Year Long Boulder (2022), dir. Brielle Leblanc

Another exploration of nostalgia filmed as vignettes on a gorgeous grainy analogue camera in a soothing natural setting, this Canadian short uses the seasons to tell the story of Billy, a young poet living with their best friend, Dylan, in a cabin by the sea. Each seasonal chapter of this tale is punctuated by one of Billy’s poems, shot in an experimental analogue montage, muted hues, and merging image and writing. In the first, Billy tells Dylan about how confused they feel about their new friend. They know that they have feelings for them but cannot figure out if they are reciprocated – we’ve all been there. As Fall turns into Spring and the natural landscapes around them change their colours, smells, and textures, Billy’s feelings grow all-the-more-encompassing, much like the titular boulder they keep returning to in their poems. This boulder, however, comes to reflect the solid friendship between Billy and Dylan; the latter is always there to help Billy talk about their feelings, distract them from wallowing in their confusion, but also to bake cookies, have pillow fights, and drink tea as they read out poetry. The Year Long Boulder is a tale of overcoming heartbreak, of life moving on, as much as it is a tale of ever-lasting friendships.

Watch The Year Long Boulder 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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