NewNowNext spotlights the latest (and queerest) movies, TV shows, webseries, and other LGBTQ shit for your viewing pleasure in our weekly watch list. Grab your popcorn, squirrel friends!
Iya (Viktoria Miroshnichenko) and Masha (Vasilisa Perelygina) bonded during WWII as anti-aircraft gunners, but in its aftermath, Iya now working in a Leningrad military hospital, the pair reconnect when Masha joins the staff. It turns out there’s a lot going on beneath the surface with this pair, including mutual PTSD, secrets, and a queerness that may or may not finally burst through. Inspired by Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich’s book The Unwomanly Face of War, 27-year-old director Kantemir Balagov won Cannes’ “Un Certain Regard Best Director” honor for this intense, memorable, and subtly Sapphic feature. (Opens January 29, Kino Lorber)
Winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Queer Lion award, China-born, U.S.-based director Li Cheng’s neorealist drama is set in Guatemala City, where closeted 19-year-old restaurant worker José (Enrique Salanic) lives with his mother (Ana Cecilia Mota) and hooks up with gay app tricks in grimy, by-the-hour sex hotels. One of those hookups—Luis (Manolo Herrera), a migrant construction worker from the Caribbean coast—stirs up new feelings in both men. But can they overcome their culture’s violent, religion-fueled homophobia, and their mutual inner turmoil, to be together? Cheng and producer-slash-co-writer George F. Roberson spent two years in Guatemala conducting research and interviewing young Latin Americans, employed an all-Guatemalan crew, and were liberal with full-frontal male nudity. Predictably enough, Salanic was recently refused entry into the U.S. to promote the film. (Opens January 31, Outsider Pictures)
DVD and VOD
All About My Mother
Winner of the Beat Foreign Language Oscar and Golden Globe, Pedro Almodovar’s 1999 masterpiece gets the Criterion Collection treatment. After her teenage son is killed while pursuing an autograph from his favorite actress (Marisa Paredes), his mother Manuela (Cecilia Roth), heads to Barcelona to notify the father, now a trans woman and a sex worker named Lola (Toni Cando). During her journey, Manuela reconnects with old friend Agrado (transgender actress Antonia San Juan) and meets an HIV-positive nun (Penélope Cruz), who also was impregnated by Lola. Riddled with revelations and twists, All About My Mother is Almodovar at his best. How do you say “we stan” in Spanish? (Available now on Blu-ray, Criterion Collection)
Leave It to Levi
Ohio-born CockyBoys porn star Levi Karter opens up about his personal life in director Jake Jaxson’s documentary. After dropping out of college, moving to New York, and beginning a hot, award-winning career in gay porn—unbeknownst to his adoptive mother back home—Levi also assumed a drag personality, Sassy Frass Meaner, and self-recorded many of his experiences along the way. Here’s hoping Levi gets to Sassy that walk on Drag Race! (Available now on DVD, TLA)
TV and Streaming
Katya and Trixie serve up the fifth season of their irreverent yet addictive webseries. Bonus: Trixie just debuted a “one night only” intimate concert on YouTube; her new album, Barbara, drops on February 7; and Katya appears alongside RuPaul in Netflix’s AJ and the Queen. (Streaming now on WOWPresents Plus)
Next in Fashion
Queer Eye’s Tan France and British designer Alexa Chung co-host Netflix’s binge-able, Project Runway-esque fashion competition series. With a $250,000 prize and Net-a-Porter collection debut at stake, the 18 contestants, which include seasoned fashionistas with impressive industry experience from all across the globe, are challenged over 10 episodes to create all sorts of lewks. Celebrity guests including gay Chinese-American designer Phillip Lim and Gossip’s Beth Ditto. Adding to the fun, France and Chung offer viewers zippy fashion pointers between the workroom and runway madness. Be warned, Project Runway-holics. Once you go NIF, you can’t go back! (Streaming January 29 on Netflix)
Main image: A contestant from Netflix’s Next in Fashion.