Though it’s not a corner of the globe known for its explosive queer arts scene, the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival launches today with more than 50 feature films, short and documentaries presenting a diverse collection of themes, including Bi The Way, a collection of bisexual movies, 16+, Les Porns (which is pretty self-explanatory), as well as Youth, Asia and Panorama.
Filling the bill are some familiar titles, Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra (above), with Michael Douglas as eccentric pianist Liberace and Matt Damon as his younger lover/protege Scott Thorson, the acclaimed AIDS epidemic How to Survive a Plague, and Blue is the Warmest Color, the lesbian drama that snagged the Palm D’or at Cannes.
Films with an Asian focus include Thai director Thitipan Raksasat’s Love Next Door (above), a sex comedy about a young gay man who falls into prostitution; and Soongava: Dance of the Orchids, about a Nepalese dancer who develops an intimate relationship with her female pupil.
In the Spanish film Hawaii, two old childhood friends reconnect and find a common desire, but class differences prove difficult to overcome.
In The Last Match, from Cuba, a young criminal enforcer and a male prostitute fight to find a life together.
Other highlights that have received acclaim on the gay film festival circuit include Concussion, about a middle-aged lesbian who turns to prostitution after a head injury, and Interior. Leather Bar (above), James Franco and Travis Matthews rumination on 40 minutes supposedly cut from the gaysploitation film Cruising.