8 Feature Films you shouldn’t miss at the 4th Queer East Film Festival

These are eight feature films you shouldn’t miss at the Queer East Film Festival which will take place from April 18 – 30, 2023 in venues across London, UK.

About Us But Not About Us by Jun Robles Lana – Philippines | 2022 – 91 minutes

In this experimental mystery-drama from the Philippines, literature student Lance has dinner with his university professor Eric, who is gay and coming to terms with the recent death of his partner. Their trip to a restaurant in Manila begins innocuously enough, with the enthusiastic Lance gratefully acknowledging his mentor’s help and encouragement. But as disturbing revelations about the past begin to emerge, the encounter evolves into a venomous battle of wills. Romnick Sarmenta and Elijah Canlas are outstanding in this tense, claustrophobic work about false narratives, distorted memories, and the masks we wear in order to project an image to others. Shooting largely in one location, director Jun Robles Lana exploits Covid-19 restrictions to dramatic effect, with the film playing out in real time over a restaurant sitting of 90 minutes. (QEFF 2022)


Bad Women of China by He Xiaopei – China | 2021 – 82 minutes

Filmmaker and activist He Xiaopei’s first feature-length documentary commences with an attempt at reconciliation with her mother, before taking the audience on a journey from the 1920s through to the 2020s. With a raw, DIY aesthetic, the film brings to life the experiences of three generations of Chinese women – He’s mother, herself, and her daughter – as they come to terms with political and social change. Combining interview, video essay, and home movie formats, the film offers a refreshingly irreverent perspective on historical experiences, while wryly documenting the potential of lesbian and polyamorous lifestyles to challenge established ideas of feminine propriety. Through intimate conversations, Bad Women of China demonstrates how women are unconsciously led to belittle their own desires, experiences and hopes. (QEFF 2022)


Home Ground by Kwon Aram – Korea |2022 – 78 minutes

In the mid-1990s, the first openly lesbian bar in South Korea, LesBos, opened its doors in Sinchon, Seoul. This documentary follows one of the bar’s proprietors, Myong-woo, whose witty commentary prompts a broader reflection on Seoul’s lesbian scene, and the evolution of the city’s queer spaces over the past five decades. In her feature debut, Kwon Aram documents generational change as she makes connections between past and present: from the 1976 police raid on Chanel, a women-only café that existed in Myeong-dong in the 1970s, to the more recent threat posed by Covid-19 to community solidarity. This is a film about a shared sense of belonging, and shared environments of kinship. Offering a rare insight into Seoul’s often-hidden lesbian history, Home Ground reveals the vibrancy and endurance of South Korea’s queer culture. (QEFF 2022)

House of Hummingbird by Kim Bo-ra- Korea | 2018 – 138 minutes

Seoul, 1994: fourteen-year-old Eun-hee’s chaotic life is bearable thanks to her secret boyfriend and best friend at Chinese class. But at home, her parents are overbearing and distant, while her brother beats her. Eun-hee’s world changes when a new, free-spirited Chinese tutor arrives at the school, taking a genuine interest in her feelings, and teaching her about things beyond her own experience. But for Eun-hee, even the good times seem like they won’t last forever. This warmly nostalgic coming-of-age story uses the historical backdrop of South Korea in the summer of 1994 to evoke the teenager’s feelings of discovery and change. In her debut feature, director Kim Bo-ra pays tribute to the confusion and joys of adolescence, assisted by a captivating performance from Park Ji-hu in her first leading role. (QEFF 2022)


Let Me Hear it Barefoot by Kudo Riho – Japan | 2021 – 127 minutes

Naomi, a student dropout, only believes in things he can touch. He works for his father’s waste collection company and hopes to escape his claustrophobic existence. One day, he befriends the happy-go-lucky Maki, and the pair begin making sound recordings of imaginary places for Midori, a blind woman with whom Maki lives. She has always dreamed of travelling but never been abroad. As the two young men spend more and more time together, they begin to express their growing intimacy through rough playfighting. But soon, their actions acquire a hurtful intensity that threatens to overwhelm their friendship. Offering a rare female perspective on male coming-of-age, director Kudo Riho crafts an incisive portrayal of sadomasochistic repression, calling into question the relationship between what we see, hear, and touch. (QEFF 2022)


Peafowl by Byun Sung-bin – Korea | 2022 – 115 minutes

Shin–myung is a transgender woman and dancer who competes in waacking, a form of voguing. Having cut ties with her family and rural hometown, Shin-myung seek various ways to fund her gender reassignment surgery. But one day, she is informed that her estranged father, a master of Nongak folk music, has died. He stipulated that Shin-myung can receive her inheritance money if she returns to the village and performs a traditional drum dance, as part of his memorial rituals. Unwilling to yield to her intolerant father’s posthumous demands, the unapologetic Shin-myung is forced to reluctantly reconnect with her past while staying true to herself. Driven by an empowering vision of trans identity, this assured debut feature from Byun Sung-bin contemplates the possibilities – and limits – of forgiveness. (QEFF 2022)


Stateless Things by Kim Kyung-Mook – Korea | 2011 – 120 minutes

The second instalment in Kim Kyung-Mook’s acclaimed ‘Things’ trilogy, this arthouse drama follows two young men in parallel stories. Joon, a young North Korean man who has illegally emigrated to South Korea, works in a gas station. When his colleague Soon-hee, a Chinese immigrant of Korean ethnicity, is subjected to sexual harassment, Joon steps in to protect her. Hyun is a young gay man, financially reliant on his older lover, in whose luxury apartment he lives. He feels suffocated by his claustrophobic existence. Although their stories are very different, Joon and Hyun are connected by their loneliness and desperation. A poetic work that draws thematic parallels between the life experiences of homosexuals and illegal immigrants, Stateless Things evolves into a searing indictment of social exclusion and cultural hypocrisy. (QEFF 2022)


What Happened to the Wolf by Na Gyi – Myanmar | 2021 – 133 minutes

In Myanmar, two women meet in a hospital. Moe, who is terminally ill, conforms to strict social conventions and though outwardly calm, fears her impending death. Way, who has a heart defect, is rebellious and free-spirited, and shuts everyone off, wanting to die anonymously. Moe and Way find solace in each other’s company, and forming a close bond, begin to contemplate a journey to the fabled sea of clouds. Portraying the subtle shifts in the women’s relationship over time, this kind of story is rare in a country in which queer narratives are suppressed. This deeply moving, troubling film is a testament to the creative conviction of its director and stars, who were targeted following the country’s military coup in 2021. (QEFF 2022)


For more information, please visit:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.