While we love Netflix’s original series, the streaming service also has a respectable collection of LGBT films from around the world.
Below, we call out some of our favorites. It’s a great starting point for would-be queer cinephiles—and cheaper than a trip around the world.
“The Way He Looks” (Brazil)
A beautifully-told coming-of-age story, this 2014 Brazilian film follows Leonardo (Ghilherme Lobo), a blind teenager from São Paulo whose overbearing mother limits his independence. Leo plans to study abroad with the help of his best friend, Giovana, but when he meets Gabriel, a kind newcomer at his school, Leo begins to develop complicated feelings.
The directorial debut of Brazilian writer Daniel Ribeiro, The Way He Looks—or in Portuguese, Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (“Today I Want To Go Back Alone”)—refuses to allow us to pity Leonardo, who is as smart, engaging, and deserving of love as his friends with sight.
An Argentinian film from director Papu Curotto, Esteros takes viewers through the lives of Matías and Jerónimo, two teenage boys whose friendship dates back to grade school. As they prepare to enter high school, the teens discover their mutual attraction—much to the dismay of Matías’ homophobic family.
The indie flick debuted at Toronto’s 2016 Inside Out Film Festival.
“52 Tuesdays” (Australia)
52 Tuesdays is a poignant look at a family in flux through the eyes of Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), whose parent is transitioning from female to male. During the process, James send Billie to live with her biological father for a year while he adjusts, only interacting with her once a week on Tuesday afternoons.
Keeping to the theme, 52 Tuesdays was actually shot every Tuesday for an entire year. Director Sophie Hyde’s eye for detail and commitment to the powerful storyline didn’t go unnoticed: The 2014 film was nominated for awards by GLAAD, the Berlin International Film Festival and the Australian Director’s Guild.
A campy comedy from Mexico, Macho follows Evo Jiménez (Miguel Rodarte), a renowned fashion designer who is secretly straight. As a filmmaker prepares to make a documentary about Evo’s life, he’s forced to take on a public boyfriend to keep himself in the “closet.”
“The Summer of Sangailė” (Lithuania)
A 2015 teenage romance from Lithuanian director Alante Kavaite, The Summer of Sangailė follows Sangailė (Julija Steponaityte), a teenage girl whose fear holds her back from pursuing her dream of being a stunt pilot. She meets the beautiful and bold Auste (Aistė Diržiūtė), a guest at her family’s lake house, who challenges her tolive more courageously. The two strike up an intoxicating romance, made all the more beautiful by the film’s stunning, sunlight-dappled cinematography.
Set in 1971, this French-Belgian drama depicts Delphine, a Spanish teacher and militant feminist, who has a chance meeting with Carole, a young farmer from the French countryside. The two begin a passionate romance in Paris until Carole’s father falls ill. When Delphine decides to join her lover in the country, it stirs up controversy in the conservative village.
Directed by Catherine Corsini, Summertime, (or La Belle Saison) was nominated for a César, France’s version of the Oscar.
Directed by Irish filmmaker Paddy Breathnach, this Spanish-language drama stars Héctor Medina as Jesus, a young gay man in Cuba whose dream of being a drag queen is threatened when his estranged father returns. Héctor is forced to come to terms with his sexuality, even if it means distancing himself from the people he loves.