Forever pushing outward into new territory, and working its way into spaces we take for granted - for those who want groundbreaking, heartbreaking movies, queer cinema is where it's at.
This year marks the 25th annual Mardi Gras Film Festival. It's come a long way. These days festival director Lisa Rose is spoilt for choice and this year's selections reflect the growing diversity of queer cinema from around the world.
"People are tired of coming out stories, and the same old tropes," says Rose. "We want to really look at the balance of films that have genuine happy endings. The queer community has been through quite the emotional ordeal in the last year. We just want to see our lives on screen."
We took a moment with Rose to pick out the festival's unmissable moments. Here they are:
In early '90s Paris, activist group ACT UP hit schools, pharmaceutical companies and politicians with anger and gravity: they're HIV positive, death looms every day, and something needs to be done.
BPM is an absolutely essential film: it's frank, personal, tender and erotic. An urgency courses through it as it moves from splatters of fake blood at a protest, to a nightclub, to encounters in a darkened bedroom. It's been nominated for 13 César awards (France's highest film honour).
A lot of films have been made about HIV and AIDS, "but they're usually American," says Rose. "It's refreshing to see a French film about it. There's a really nice balance of the reality of HIV with the human stories."
BPM is screening at Event Cinemas George Street on Saturday February 17. Tickets are available here.
Call Me By Your Name (Italy, France, USA, Brazil)
We'll take any opportunity we get to remind you to see this masterpiece of a film. Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet fall in love over a sun-drenched Italian summer. The audience follows suit. Read our review here, and check out our interview with director Luca Guadagnino here. And then see the film.
Call Me By Your Name *is screening at Event Cinemas George Street on Wednesday February 21. Tickets are available here.
100 Men (New Zealand)
Kiwi filmmaker Paul Oremland is on a mission to chart the 100 best sexual encounters he's had in his life. Some were nameless brief encounters (number 21 is just called 'farmer guy'), and some were more. Either way, Oremland tracks down a good number of them, and looks at where their lives have gone since they were lovers.
100 Men covers 40 years of gay male history and experience, and shows Oremland's incredibly diverse taste in men.
[Watch the trailer] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoKV5uD69NI).
100 Men *is screening at Event Cinemas George St on Friday February 23. Tickets are available here.
I Dream in Another Language (Mexico)
A linguist travels to a tiny village in Vera Cruz, Mexico, to document the last speakers of a dying language. It's a language with its roots in romance, and is now only spoken by two men still divided by a decades-old love triangle.
This is a beautiful, unexpected film, dreamlike, simple and tender, tinged with magic realism and a pervasive sense of wonder in nature. The device of a dormant language spoken only by two people in the world is a beautiful one. I Dream in Another Language stunned audiences at Sundance last year, taking home the World Cinema Audience Award.
I Dream in Another Language *is screening at Event Cinemas George Street on Sunday February 25. Tickets are available here.
Team Hurricane (Denmark)
When a group of teenage girls learn their local drop-in centre is closing down, they decide to raise money to save it. Well, that's what Team Hurricane is about, but that doesn't set you up for the DIY quirk that follows.
"It's probably the most unique film in the program," says Rose. There's a reason it was declared the most innovative film at the Venice International Film Festival. Team Hurricane is unclassifiable.
Danish director Annika Berg leads a group of very real amateur actors through a kaleidoscopic, Tumblresque punk-chick movie that has more in common with internet subcultures than anything you've seen in a cinema before.
Team Hurricane *is screening at Event Cinemas George Street on Sunday February 18. Get tickets here.
Disney's animated films are pretty progressive when it comes to queer representation. Zootopia, Disney's loveable ode to diversity, is about a cop fighting prejudice within the force to solve a case. She's also a cute bunny.
"Every year we put on a rainbow family screening," says Rose. "We want to reach different pockets of the community, and we want families with young children to be able to turn up and be part of Mardi Gras."
Even if you don't have kids to bring, this is a bubbly and optimistic antidote to, say, BPM. There'll also be face painting and games.
Zootopia *screens at Event Cinemas George Street on Sunday February 21. Tickets are available here.
The Mardi Gras Film Festival is at Event Cinemas George Street and Golden Age Cinema from February 15 to March 1. mardigras.org.au.