The Queer East Film Festival has announced the complete programme for its inaugural edition running at venues across London from 18th April to 2nd May. This year’s lineup features a diverse selection of films both classic and contemporary exploring LGBTQ+ life in East Asia opening with Hong Kong transgender drama Tracey, and closing with a 35mm screening of landmark Taiwanese teen movie Blue Gate Crossing.
18th April, Lexi Cinema Plus Intro by How Wee Ng, University of Westminster
50-something Tai-hung is a married father of two grown-up children living a conventional life in contemporary Hong Kong, but a phone call informing him that a childhood friend has passed away forces him into a reconsideration of his life choices and a long delayed acceptance of a transgender identity in Li Jun’s moving drama. Review.
19th April, Lexi Cinema Plus Intro by by Christopher Brown, University of Sussex
Documentary focussing on the lives of LGTBQ+ Christians in Taiwan.
21st April, Lexi Cinema
Hae-soo moves to a new city and opens a cafe where high schooler Ye-jin becomes a regular and eventually starts working. The two women draw closer but each have closely guarded secrets.
22nd April, Deptford Cinema
Toshio Matsumoto’s avant-garde classic inspired by Oedipus Rex and starring Peter as a bar hostess involved in a complicated love triangle with drag queen Leda and bar owner Gonda.
22nd April, Barbican plus intro by film critic Eric Sasono
A Lengger dancer looks back on his life as a tale of growing acceptance of sensuality lived against a turbulent political backdrop. Review.
24th April, Barbican. Followed by a ScreenTalk with director Tracy Choi
A woman returns to Macau after 15 years in Taiwan and begins reconsidering her relationship with her best friend, realising the emotions she felt for her may have been romantic in Tracy Choi’s subtly political melodrama.
25th April, Lexi Cinema Plus Intro by by Christopher Brown, University of Sussex
Yang Ya-che’s modern classic in which the friendship between three young people fighting for democracy at the tail end of the Martial Law era is tested by their conflicting feelings for each other.
26th April, Curzon Goldsmiths
A pregnant writer returns home to Beijing to visit her family with her French husband and is struck by the realities of her parents’ unhappy marriage in which her mother has retreated into a bizarre buddhist cult and her father has taken a male lover.
26th April, Lexi Cinema
Reeling from tragic loss, a young man reunites with the love of his youth only to discover he has terminal lung cancer and has chosen to forgo all treatment in Anucha Boonyawatana’s melancholy mediation of love, life, and transience. Review.
26th April, Genesis
Zero Chou’s lesbian classic in which a web-cam girl visits a tattooist’s studio and becomes obsessed with the spider lily tattoo on her arm. Hoping to get to know her better, she asks her to give her the same tattoo but the experience reawakens memories which threaten to force the two women apart.
27th April, Prince Charles Cinema
A man tries to connect with the mother of his late partner who speaks only Cambodian-Chinese and remained unaware of her son’s sexuality in Hong Khaou’s deeply moving debut feature.
27th April, Regent Street Cinema
Documentary following the lives of two indigenous Taiwanese girls who meet on a vocational training programme and each experience difficult family circumstances.
28th April, Rio Cinema
Ang Lee’s 1993 Asian-American classic in which a gay Taiwanese New Yorker agrees to participate in a green card marriage to a Chinese artist to get his nagging parents off his back.
29th April, Prince Charles Cinema
Graham Kolbeins’ documentary exploring LGBTQ+ life in contemporary Japan including contributions from mangaka Gengoroh Tagame (My Brother’s Husband), drag queen Vivienne Sato, and Aya Kamikawa who recounts her path to becoming the first transgender elected official in Japan.
30th April, Barbican
Beautifully tragic romance set in ’80s Saigon in which a conflicted street punk falls in love with a Cai Luong opera singer. Review.
1st May, Genesis Cinema Plus Intro by Christopher Brown, University of Sussex
A teacher’s personal and professional lives are destabilised by his support for equal marriage and relationship with a closeted, HIV+ older man.
2nd May, Rio Cinema followed by a Q&A with directors Tung-Yen Chou and Popo Fan.
Documentary exploring questions of intimacy in contemporary gay life interviewing men from Taipei, Beijing, New York and London to find out what it is they’re looking for.
2nd May, Genesis Cinema Plus Introduction by Christopher Brown, University of Sussex.
Taiwanese classic from Yee Chih-yen starring Gwei Lun-mei and Chen Bo-lin as high school students pursuing conflicting romantic destinies.
Queer East 2020 runs at venues across London from 18th April to 2nd May. Full details for all the films as well as ticketing links can be found on the official website, while you can also keep up with all the latest news by following Queer East on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.