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Together we stand proud

Kill Your Darlings (American)

While it’s far from a perfect film, “Kill Your Darlings” beautifully showcases the intricacies of the Beat Generation. Following the journey of Allen Ginsburg (Daniel Radcliffe) at Columbia University, we witness a story of a peace disrupted, tradition disregarded and the birth of a literary rebel. The chemistry between Ginsberg and Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) is unmatched. The provocative and influential Carr constantly challenges his friends to think outside the box and pushes against social norms, lending to the avant-garde style of the generation. His magnetic personality draws those of the main cast to him, and with Ginsburg, it goes just a bit further as they learn about who they are and challenge the world they live in.

Viva (Cuban)

Set in Havana, Cuba, the film follows Jesús (Héctor Medina), an aspiring drag performer, who starts off as a hairdresser for a troupe of performers. When his estranged father returns from prison, he is faced with the struggle of pursuing his passions while also maintaining a relationship with his father, who highly disapproves of his life choices. The sensitive and determined Jesús wrestles with the complexities of self-expression in a conservative society and finds sanctuary from the hardships of city life in the drag club. The heartfelt arguments and conversations between the father and son portray reconciling with the past and looking towards the future.

Badhaai Do (Indian)

A dramatic comedy that will have you at the edge of your seat, Badhaai Do is not your typical Bollywood film. Shardul Thakur (Rajkummar Rao) and Sumi Singh (Bhumi Pednekar) enter a lavender marriage in order to appease their families by keeping up the facade of a traditional marriage while also trying to maintain their own romantic relationships. The two live under the societal pressure to conform to cisheteronormative expectations and the struggle that arises from trying to live authentically in such an environment. Emphasizing the value of friendship and supporting surrounding peers, Shardul and Sumi overcome family pressures and personal and societal challenges together.

Fanfic (Polish)

The internet identity is something that many are familiar with, and in “Fanfic,” it is the starting point for Tosiek (Alin Szewcyzk), in finding a place where he can be himself. While the plot may seem loose at some points, the idea behind it remains clear. A touching coming-of-age film, Tosiek finds his voice and himself amidst pressures both at school and at home, finds acceptance in the most unexpected of spaces, and learns that identity is fluid. While something may have been true in the past, the same cannot be said for the present or future. Also, the bonds made at the lowest are often the ones that open up new paths in life.

And Then We Danced (Swedish)

For anyone who loves a good rivals to “well it’s complicated,” this movie is for you. Merab (Levan Gelbakhiani), a performer in a traditional Georgian dance troupe, has his world changed when Irakli (Bachi Valishvili) joins the troupe. Amidst the hyper-masculine Georgian dance world, Merab struggles with his growing feelings for his rival while also auditioning for a position in the main dance company. Not all romantic ventures last, or in some cases, even have the potential to begin, just like how not all life paths are linear. Love is lost, the future may seem bleak, but through the expression of self through dance, Merab’s choreography depicts courage and emotional depth, blending bits of traditional Georgian dance with his own style.

Rafiki (Kenyan)

“Rafiki” follows the story of two young women, Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) in Kenya. Despite coming from two completely different backgrounds – with Kena being practical and Ziki displaying more rebellious tendencies, they end up kindling a close friendship that soon blooms into a romantic one. This film is similar to many other queer films in which the main characters have to navigate a society where homosexuality is not only widely stigmatized, but it is also illegal. With the threat of legal repercussions under Kenya’s criminalizing homosexuality laws and their families’ reactions towards their relationship, both Kena and Ziki have to make an important decision: will they stay together despite the mountain of obstacles up ahead, or will they prioritize their love and keep moving forward?

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