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. 

 

Now, Daphne (2019), dir. Johann G. Louis

Daphne arrives into a desolate French town as if she was never intending on stopping by. She ambles through the doors of the only hotel in sight, nonchalantly books a room for one night only, and makes her way to a seemingly ordinary restaurant. Throughout this almost wordless journey, questions seem to arise. Daphne attracts the eye of everyone she walks confidently past. Heads swerve and we begin to realise that she is moving with a certain assuredness that perhaps only comes with harbouring a past in a certain space. Slowly, then, Daphne ceases to be an anonymous nomad, as her life’s story begins to weave itself around her. Now, Daphne sees the return of a woman who found herself in Paris to the very place that had once tried to erase her identity. It is a tale of family acceptance which questions whether this acceptance can ever come too late, as much as an acknowledgment that we too, as queer people, must allow ourselves to be understood. As Daphne stops running away, she is finally able to begin making peace with a past that had haunted her throughout her life.

Watch Now, Daphne here.

 

Beats Per Minute (2023), dir. Guan Chen Lin

Guan Chen Lin’s mesmerising short continues the journey towards human connection through night-time wanderings. The film follows college student Yong-ning as he keeps himself busy floating through the neon-tinted streets of Taipei before receiving a phone call from an old friend, Yi-jie, offering some company. So the two meet and take on the night. The camera, rarely still, darts and turns as it tries to keep up with the two protagonists. Its blurs and shakes envelop the protagonists in an ever-evolving choreography. The pair can barely keep still – they dance into the night, play badminton to the soundtrack of the crickets and distance zooming of cars, and feel the weight of the years of catching up rush out of their conversations. Night keeps on falling and the two men edge closer and closer to a deeply-rooted, unspoken, connection. It is as if the night is eternal; is this not what the excitement and ‘what if?’ feeling of blossoming love feels like? All such beautiful moments must, however, eventually see their end. Beats Per Minute will cut your breath with its pace and keep you constantly on your feet as you wonder where the protagonists will sprint to next.

Watch Beats Per Minute here.

 

Dungarees (2020), dir. Abel Rubinstein

You will definitely be left wanting more after Abel Rubinstein’s short and sweet British film. Lovers Blake and Chris, one trans and the other cis, let the day go by in each other’s arms as they sleep together, play videogames, and ponder what ‘gay’ looks like, if it looks like anything at all. This is where the titular item of clothing come in. Blake delivers glance after glance in the mirror as he assesses his dungarees, all whilst Chris doesn’t seem to notice. The dungarees – corduroy Lucy and Yak’s no less – spur on an insightful and hilarious exploration of what it means to feel like you are truly in control of your body, that you are working with it and that it fits who you feel like on the outside. With the energy of a sitcom and the heart-warming fleshing out of characters and their relationships to each other which is on par with the best of British romcoms, Dungarees opens its doors to a wonderful community of queer people and invites its viewer along for a manicure session.

Watch Dungarees 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 an MA 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 University of Cambridge’s first all-queer magazine, Screeve. She was nominated for the International News Media Association (INMA)’s “30 Under 30” Awards in 2023. She is the youngest woman editor-in-chief in a quality media outlet.

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