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Water Cooler: Films to watch during Pride month include ‘Hedwig,’ ‘Happy Together’ and ‘Swoon’

June 7, 2021 Updated Wed., June 9, 2021 at 2:58 p.m.

John Cameron Mitchell stars in 2001's "Hedwig and the Angry Inch."  (Courtesy)
John Cameron Mitchell stars in 2001's "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." (Courtesy)

Celebrate Pride month by watching trailblazing cinema focused on or created by members of the LGBTQ+ community. Here are some titles to check out.

“Happy Together” – A story of a turbulent romance in which a couple from Hong Kong take a trip to Buenos Aires and find themselves drifting apart along the way. Directed by Wong Kar-wai. 1997. 96 minutes.

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” – Based on the 1998 stage musical of the same name, this film follows Hedwig, a genderqueer punk rocker during a tour through East Germany with her backing Band, the Angry Inch. Directed by John Cameron Mitchell. 2001. 95 minutes.

“Desert Hearts” – A straight-edge literature professor awaits the finalization of her divorce when she finds true love in a confident and eccentric woman during a road trip through the western United States. 1985. 91 minutes.

“The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” – A documentary that investigates the mysterious death of Black gay rights activist Marsha P. Johnson, which was initially ruled as a suicide. Directed by David France. 2017. 105 minutes.

“Tangerine” – On Christmas Eve in Tinseltown, transgender sex worker Sin-Dee finds out her pimp boyfriend was unfaithful while she was locked up and decides to go on a hunt across Los Angeles with her best friend until she tracks him down. Directed by Sean Baker. 2015. 87 minutes.

“My Beautiful Laundrette” – A British-Pakistani man renovates a laundrette with his male love while under the constant scrutiny of his family and persistent threat of the local skinheads. Directed by Stephen Frears. 1985. 98 minutes.

“Pariah” – A Brooklyn teenager struggles to establish her personal identity and sexuality without risking her relationship with friends and family. Directed by Dee Rees. 2011. 86 minutes.

“The Wedding Banquet” – A Taiwanese-American man conspires a marriage of convenience to a Chinese woman so she can get a green card and he can continue living happily with his American boyfriend without the scrutiny of his parents. Directed by Ang Lee. 19993. 109 minutes.

“Paris Is Burning’’ – A documentary made over the course of seven years that explores the Black and Latinx Harlem drag-ball scene of 1980s New York City. Directed by Jennie Livingston. 1990. 71 minutes.

“Personal Best” – During an unsuccessful tryout for the 1976 Olympics, a young athlete meets a more experienced track and field competitor and their friendship develops into a romantic relationship. Directed by Robert Towne. 1982. 124 minutes.

“The Watermelon Woman” – A young Black lesbian works a day job in a video store while spending her free time making a documentary. Directed by Cheryl Dunye. 1996. 85 minutes.

“Young Soul Rebels” – An examination of British youth subcultures of Punks, Skinheads and Soulboys and the cultural and political tension between them. Directed by Isaac Julien. 105 minutes.

“Swoon” – A provocative story about two teenagers who are bonded by a sexual relationship and amoral outlook on life, participating in an escalating series of criminal activity. Directed by Tom Kalin. 1992. 82 minutes.

“The Living End” – An unapologetically dark and rebellious film about a movie critic and a gay hustler. Both men are HIV positive and together they go on a journey that challenges their morality. Directed by Gregg Araki. 1992. 92 minutes.

“Rafiki” – Two Kenyan girls support and love one another in the face of their conservative society and rival families. Directed by Wanuri Kahiu. 2018. 82 minutes.

“Edward II” – In 14th century England, King Edward II falls in love with a young man and drives Queen Isabella to an envy-fueled plot to overthrow her husband. Directed by Derek Jarman. 1991. 90 minutes.

“The Times of Harvey Milk” – A documentary about one of the first openly gay elected public officials and the legacy that survives his 1978 assassination. Directed by Rob Epstein. 1984. 90 minutes.

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