Left-Wing Films

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it will give you lots of ideas for films to show at cell meetings, for public events, or as a means to brainwash conservative youth that you kidnapped from Boy Scout outings. Of course, any film can be watched and deconstructed for its lessons about race, class, gender and power, but these films make those discussions a little easier. Showing films can be a great way to have political discussions at the same time you are having fun. You can even use them as fund-raising events, since most only cost $10 to $20 a piece. (You aren't suppose to charge people to see movies you rent from a store.)

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Bostonians, The - Vanessa Redgrave as a lesbian suffragist, involved in the Socialist milieu in the 1910's. Not a very happy picture of pre-WW I gay life.

Buddha of Suburbia - An hilarious tour of racial, sexual and political turmoil of Britain in the 1970srom the perspective of a bisexual Pakistani man.

Carrington (1995) - Emma Thompson in the true story of the love triangle around the gay 19th century British author Lytton Strachey.

Celluloid Closet, The (1995) - A brilliant documentary on the 100-year history of Hollywood depictions of gays and lesbians, with wonderful interviews and video clips (102 min).

Crying Game, The (1992) - The most sympathetic portrayal of transgender love in a mainstream film, against the backdrop of the craziness of IRA terrorism. 

Desert Hearts - Two women fall in love at a women's writers' retreat.

Dresser, The - Albert Finney is a cantakerous, aging, Shakespearean actor; Tom Courtenay is the doting dresser who cares for him and lives vicariously through his performances. (118 min.)

Edward II - A reinterpretation of the Marlowe classic that makes explicit the gay subtext.

Entre Nous - A homoerotic friendship between two women.

Harold and Maude (1971) - A love affair between a neurotic young aristocrat, and a fesity old Jewish anarchist Holocaust-survivor.

Henry and June - The story of the menage a trois of Henry Miller, Anais Nin, and June, Henry Miller's wife.

Incredibly True Story of Two Girls in Love (1995) - A light-hearted, and optimistic, teen lesbian love story that explores race and class in unexpected ways.

I, the Worst of All (1995) - This Spanish movie is a beautiful, deeply affecting dramatization of the life of Sister Juana Ines de la Cruz, one of the greatest Spanish language poets. Sor Juana became a nun in the 16th century in Mexico because she would not have been allowed to pursue a life of scholarship and writing as an aristocratic married woman. The free-thinking and feminist sentiments of her poetry, however, bring her into conflict with the intensely misogynist ArchBishop. She is protected from the Inquisition by her erotic muse and special friend, the wife of the Governor of Mexico. Her Sapphic poems to the governess eventually bring about her downfall.

Kiss of the Spider Woman - Two prisoners in a Latin American jail, Raoul Julia, a Spartan revolutionary leader, and William Hurt, a movie-obsessed homosexual, find their lives and destinies intertwined in this bizarre drama that blurs the lines between reality and fantasy, freedom and entrapment. (119 min.)

Lianna - Lianna is a wife and mother who returns to college and falls in love with Ruth, her child psychology professor. John Sayles captures the joy and pain of a woman coming to terms with her sexuality and depicts the effect her decision has on her family.

The Living End, two HIV positive men do a Thelma and Louise.

Long Time Companion - Story of AIDS and gay life in the 80s, centered on a group of friends. (96m)

Making Love - Yuppie angst when married man has affair with another man. (103m)

Maurice - E.M. Forster story about a young Brit coming to terms with his gayness in 1910s. (135m)

My Beautiful Launderette - A Pakistani youth living in London starts working for his businessman uncle and is given a laundromat that he, along with his English lover, renovates into a neighborhood landmark. A unique seriocomedy that blends dark humor, racial drama and offbeat romance for an intriguing look at modern British society. (93 min.)

My Own Private Idaho - River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves as male prostitutes in Seattle who have a tragic love affair while everyone recites Henry IV (102m)

The Naked Civil Servant - is a biographical look at Quentin Crisp, a British author who was one of the first crusaders for gay rights. Based on Crisp's best-selling memoirs, the film is touching and inspiring in its view of one man's struggle to live his life. (80 min.)

Paris is Burning - A documentary about drag queen subculture in New York.

Parting Glances (1986, Bill Sherwood) One of the earliest films about gay men to acknowledge AIDS, it never loses its sense of fun and solidarity."Review by John Sayles, in Mother Jones, 1996"

Prick up Your Ears - Based on a true story, about the tragic relationship of a gay novelist and his lover.

Times of Harvey Milk - Academy Award-winning, powerful documentary about the powerful, charismatic, compassionate, gay San Francisco city official Harvey Milk, who was suddenly assassinated. (90 min.)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a hilarious poof of 50s science fiction movies, with a great celebratory attitude about sexuality in general, and bisexuality in particular. Spawned a cult following in the 70s that must have led to untold millions of sexual experiments.

Strawberry and Chocolate (1995) - A Cuban film that contrasts a straight Communist man with his gay friend who wants to leave.

Summer Vacation 1999, a beautiful Japanese film about a school boy who committed suicide and returns to woo his beloved class mate who spurned him, claiming he's someone else.

Torch Song Trilogy - Harvey Fierstein brilliantly re-creates the role he originated on stage, that of Arnold Beckoff, a shy, introspective female impersonator who longs for love and fulfillment, but never loses his sense of humor. Matthew Broderick and Brian Kerwin costar as Fierstein's lovers and Anne Bancroft is perfect as his nagging Jewish mother. (126 min.)

The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960) - Dramatization of the events leading to Oscar Wilde's imprisonment

Urinal - Famous, dead, gay artists are mysteriously collected to fight homophobia in modern Canada.

We Were One Man - A simple French farmer and a wounded, abandoned German soldier are ultimately united in an openly sexual relationship in this award winning French film. French with English subtitles. (90 min.)

When Night is Falling - A repressed woman confronts her lesbian desires. Critics choice at the Berlin Film Festival in 93

Wild Life - A video portrait of two 15-year-old gay Latinos, this work by John Goss combines documentary-style interviews with fictional segments in which the young men act out their fantasized day in Los Angeles. As they talk about their lives, we see scenes of them changing into wild clothes on the street, cruising around "Gay City," meeting their friends at the park, and "throwing attitude." They are questioned about the nature of being gay, relationships with friends and lovers, style and image, and their use of gay language. (40 min.)

The Woman Inside - A young man comes to grips with his own sexual identity in this dramatic look at transsexualism. Medical science makes him a woman, but can she find acceptance and love? (94 min.)

Sergeant Matlovich Vs. The U.S. Air Force - Real-life drama of a decorated Air Force officer who takes the military to court after he's dishonorably discharged because of his homosexuality. (96 min.)