Monthly Film Bulletin: GagaOOLala

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’s bulletin takes on the theme of mundane queerness, and the memories of our most unassuming encounters which, years on, become some of our most valuable. Here are our recommendations.

Drifting Flowers (2008) dir. Zero Chou

Part of the ground-breaking collection of queer cinema belonging to award-winning Taiwanese director Zero Chou, Drifting Flowers catches glimpses of three queer stories, traversing the country across time. Be it the love story between Jing, a blind singer, and her bands’ butch accordionist Diego, the tale of Lily and Yen, two old queer friends on opposite sides of a lavender marriage, or Diego’s youthful memories of a first discovery of sexuality, the film focuses on the everyday queer experience, leaving behind traditional narrative tools to capture these intimate moments. They are not stories of marginalisation, or internal turmoil, but rather daily portraits of characters who happen to be queer, whose highs and lows are not just determined by their sexualities. Set against a breath-taking soundtrack, and tinted with the moody, muted colours of memory, Drifting Flowers is sure to remind us of our own memories – those vivid, those hazy, and those forgotten, until now.

Watch Drifting Flowers here.

Searching Eva (2019) dir. Pia Hellenthal

A film festival favourite, this experimental documentary follows Eva, a self-described ‘drifter, Berliner, poet, pet-owner, sex worker, NB, virgo, recovering addict, model’ through a dreamy musing on identity in the age of the internet. Taking fly-on-the-wall documentary filmmaking to a new level, Hellenthal goes to great lengths to ensure that she never crosses Eva’s boundaries, instead allowing Eva a considerable amount of control in shaping their digital persona, interwoven within the film. This, Eva reveals, is an all-too-rare experience for someone who is constantly scrutinized by the media’s eye since the start of their ‘internet career’ at the age of 14. What is more, the film argues that, in the digital age, none of us can reduce ourselves to a single identity. Lacking in an overly sentimental narrative, and never too pretentious or didactic, this documentary weaves together seemingly unconnected scenes, be it from Eva’s family home in Italy, a lazy morning in bed with their boyfriend and cat, or a photo shoot for an important magazine appearance, into a tonally mature discussion of how the internet has forever changed the way we perceive ourselves.

Watch Searching Eva here.

With Thelma (2017) dir. Ann Sirot and Raphaël Balboni

Queer parenthood is one of the most refreshing new themes to have graced the world of LGBT+ cinema, and With Thelma is no exception. As Thelma’s parents are stuck in Iceland following a volcanic eruption, Jean and Vincent welcome their infant niece into their home for a few weeks. Whilst at first sceptical about the arrangement, the couple soon warms up to Thelma’s bright presence, assuming the role of temporary fathers head-on. The film dives into the intimate atmosphere of early parenthood through home-video style footage shot on an iPhone, capturing this makeshift family as they take a trip to a local park to look at blooming flowers, have dance competitions over FaceTime to Thelma’s parents, and grow closer, more comfortable around each other. A celebration of childish charm and spontaneity, seeping with moments in which you cannot help but smile, With Thelma is an absolute gem which must be discovered.

Watch With Thelma here.

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

Miruna Tiberiu is the managing editor 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 is currently in Paris carrying out her dissertation research on Franco-Romanian cinema and intends to continue this work as a postgraduate at Cambridge.

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