The Summer House

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The Larsens are a picture perfect family from the German upper-middle class. They have everything that means comfort and should mean happiness. Business success, a stylish, light-flooded home and a full scholarship for their daughter to study in England. However, the head of the family, Markus, an architect, lives a secret, bisexual double life as his wife Christine and their eleven-year-old daughter Elisabeth drown in unendurable loneliness.

Markus realizes that he has a strong yearning for one of his daughter’s school friends, Johannes, 12, also the son of his tax penalty-bedeviled business partner, Christopher. He succeeds in getting closer to Johannes and binds the boy to himself with ever-increasing intensity. His wife is desperately aware of the emotional distance of her husband, but only her daughter Elizabeth, reacting to the sexually laden atmosphere, sees through the lies and secrets that she instinctively knows to be an growing, disruptive threat to the entire family. As Markus loses control of the situation and in a final moment of strength, pushes Johannes away, the action nevertheless moves them all remorselessly into the abyss.

Esteros

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A familiar tale unfolds with uncommon lyricism in Argentine filmmaker Papu Curotto’s debut feature about two boys’ years-long relationship. Many other films have explored the theme of a central character learning to accept his sexuality after years of self-repression, but Esteros stands out for its uncommon restraint and sensitivity.

The story revolves around childhood friends Matias who spend their summers enjoying typical boyhood pursuits on the farm owned by Jeronimo’s family. Their relationship begins to take on a new, physical dimension during their adolescence, but is cut short when Matias’ father accepts a new job in Brazil and moves the family away.

Cut to 10 years later when the adult Matias, now an uptight scientist, returns to the area for a visit with his girlfriend Rochi. He reunites with his old friend, whose openly gay, bohemian lifestyle stands in marked contrast to that of Matias. It soon becomes clear that the two men are still attracted to each other, and when they decide to spend a few days in the house where they had spent idyllic summers, sparks inevitably fly.

In story and characterisations, Esteros (Spanish for “tidelands”) doesn’t really give us anything we haven’t seen before. But despite its recycled tropes, the film works beautifully thanks to its assured direction and economical, non-melodramatic script. The performers playing the younger and older versions of the main characters are excellent, with the latter heating up the screen in their inevitable torrid love scene. And the cinematography beautifully captures the glories of the Argentinian countryside, making the film a visual stunner.

Netflix’ very queer teen drama Élite gets a second season

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Élite, Netflix’s latest and gayest original teen drama, has just been renewed for a second season. The show follows the students of Las Encinas, a Spanish high school for the country’s wealthiest teens. But when the school on the poor side of town collapses, three students get scholarships to Las Encinas and their presence ignites a train of events that ultimately results in murder.

Viewers have been pleasantly surprised by the unexpectedly queer series. Élite boasts two gay characters, a few bisexuals, polyamory, and even a plotline destigmatising HIV. Combine that with the high stakes of teen drama, a beautiful cast, and a murder mystery, it’s no wonder the show’s garnered such an enthusiastic fan base.

Élite is streaming on Netflix now

2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten

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Life at a sleepy high school in Pampanga, rife with unethical and oppressive instructors, changes with the arrival of interracial pretty boy Magnus Snyder.

This is particularly true for top scholar Felix. When he’s enlisted to help the new student with his schoolwork, the quiet Felix is drawn out of his loner shell and into the wild ways of Magnus and his devilish younger brother Maxim. As Felix’s closeted attraction to Magnus grows, he becomes increasingly enmeshed in the Snyder family’s dark tensions, which involve their hard-partying mother. Despite uneven acting and a tendency toward heavy-handedness, the film demonstrates admirable attunement to the introverted Felix as he hurtles down a coming-of-age trajectory with seemingly no way out other than disaster.

Mi mejor amigo (My best Friend)

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Living with his loving, liberal parents in Argentinian Patagonia, a sensitive high schooler named Lorenzo has to make way for the arrival of Caito, a troublemaking son of his dad’s best friend who’s only a year older. Lorenzo takes on the responsibility of keeping Caito in line and getting him to open up about his troubles.

In the process, both boys bond, but their friendship can only go so far. The movie is a smart, aching look at the ways young people can fall in love, even when they know the object of their affection doesn’t feel the same way. 

Submitted by Franco

Violet Vixen

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Like many other kids Leo is a big fan of car racing. When he was looking for racing shows on Netflix one day he found something very different though: RuPaul’s Drag Race. “Oh my god, I need to do this!” he thought and so he did.

Fast forward to today and he has just won an award celebrating young people in his hometown. For his own drag. He is from Corby, a town in the county of Northamptonshire, England and is now known as Violet Vixen on his YouTube channel

Every year, the town celebrates young people at the Spirit of Corby Awards. After receiving the award, 12-year-old Leo said he hoped to inspire people to be themselves. “I feel shocked and really proud,” he told BBC.

Sam

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“Sam” offers an artistic and unique perspective on gender identity and bullying. The film aims to challenge our perception of the people who inhabit our world and provide encouragement for young people who are still trying to figure out who they are, where their place is, and who they want to be. Read more here.

Headspace

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For some not affected by it, it’s probably hard to visualise the type of discomfort and small acts of discrimination transgender people face on a daily basis.

Public bathrooms are an easy one to identify because of the months-long controversy surrounding them, but the potential danger also extends to places like locker rooms and doctors’ offices. In the short film Headspace, trans individuals think through day-to-day obstacles that can arise.