6 Queer East Asian Films To Watch
To celebrate Pride Month, here are some films to check out from across East Asia. They range from light romantic comedies to more meditative dramas that show the depth of the queer experience. Happy pride, and happy viewing!
“Moonlit Winter” tells the story of Yoon Hee (Kim Hee Ae) and her daughter Sae Bom (Kim So Hye). When Sae Bom finds a letter from her mom’s old love, she finds a way for Yoon Hee to reunite with her past lover. Sae Bom and Yoon Hee travel to Japan where they both gain a deeper appreciation for each other and for love, both old and new. It is a quiet, contemplative film about the regrets we hold onto and the ways we move forward. And it shows that no matter what age, we always have room for change.
Watch “Moonlit Winter”:
“Made on the Rooftop”
This is a cute gay romantic comedy about Ha Neul (Lee Hong Nae), who after a break-up, moves in with his best friend Bong Sik (Jung Whee). Bong Sik works as a streamer while Ha Neul looks for a job. We follow their daily lives as Bong Sik goes on dates and Ha Neul tries to get his life in order. The two often get on each other nerves, but ultimately, they have each other’s back. Complete with a cute cat, “Made on the Rooftop” is perfect for a breezy, summer day.
“Happy Together” is a stylish, romantic coming-of-age drama directed by famed Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai. Featuring two powerhouse performances by Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung, it tells the on-and-off relationship of Ho Po Wing and Lai Yiu Fai. When they go to Buenos Aires together, hoping for a reset on their relationship, they find themselves in the same old dynamics. It captures the volatility of love and why we’re drawn to people we shouldn’t be. If you’re in the mood for something swoony, “Happy Together” will hit the spot.
“Dear Ex” is a lovely, high-spirited movie about Song Cheng Xi (Joseph Huang), who gets caught in the middle of his mom San Lian and his dad’s ex-lover and insurance inheritor Jay. In a twist of fate, however, Song Cheng Xi eventually goes to live with Jay. It’s a story about finding yourself amongst the confusion of being a teenager and striking unlikely friendships. With whimsical flourishes, “Dear Ex” flies by. Watch this if you need a pick-me-up. You’ll no doubt end up with a smile on your face.
“Semantic Error: The Movie”
Re-edited from the drama of the same name, “Semantic Error: The Movie” follows Chu Sang Woo (DKZ’s Jaechan) and Jang Jae Young (Park Seo Ham), two polar opposites who must come together to work on a project. Although their initial meeting goes horribly, they start to develop complicated feelings towards the other. A classic enemies-to-lover tale set in a modern college campus, “Semantic Error: The Movie” is a fun, easy watch. It’s a perfect pairing for a lazy summer day.
Watch “Semantic Error: The Movie”:
In “Blue,” Kayako, a shy high school girl, falls in love with Endo, one of her classmates. They both feel isolated from the world as Endo had to repeat another year of school. As they befriend one another, Endo shows Kayako how big the world really can be. It is a quiet movie filmed beautifully, with lingering shots and blue tones that heighten the loneliness of the characters. Silence is as big as words in this movie. Turn on “Blue” if you want to reminisce your younger days.
Hey Soompiers! What are some of your favorite queer films? Tell us in the comments!
Sarah K. is a freelance writer. She enjoys watching Korean movies, and her favorite groups include SHINee, Red Velvet, BTS, and Epik High.