Queer stories have always had a special place at the Sundance Film Festival. Films like Keep the Lights On and Stranger By the Lake first captivated audiences at the Park City indie film fest before becoming modern staples of gay cinema.
This year was no exception with several LGBT-themed films premiering at Sundance. Here are three queer films that had audiences raving and managed to raise the temperature in snow-capped Park City, Utah.
Call Me By Your Name
Based on the seminal gay novel by André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name is the story of a precocious teen boy’s first love affair with his father’s research assistant during the rather steamy summer of 1983 in Northern Italy. The sun-kissed film was directed by Luca Guadagnino, responsible for the stirring and gorgeous I Am Love.
“Call Me By Your Name is narrative in that it tells the short, bittersweet story of Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer), but it is more a terrarium of human experience, a sensory immersion that is remarkably full in its vision,” wrote Vanity Fair‘s film critic, Richard Lawson. Big bonus, the movie was scored by Sufjan Stevens, and it features two new songs as well as a new arrangement of “Futile Devices” by the indie singer-songwriter.
God’s Own Country
In this debut feature film by British writer-director Francis Lee, a young Yorkshire sheep farmer begins a passionate relationship with his Romanian helping hand. And in the process, snapping out of using casual sex and binge-drinking to avoid emotional intimacy. While God’s Own Country can be simplistically compared to Brokeback Mountain, this film has a more optimistic outlook on gay love.
“Their first sexual tussle is combative, angry, their naked bodies smeared in grass and mud, like animals. But while they revert to a circumspect mutual distance during the long daylight working hours, their nights together gradually give way to gentler sexual exploration,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter‘s film critic, David Rooney.
This gay drama set in Coney Island follows Frankie on his sexual exploits from cruising sites to cruising spots. Director Eliza Hittman was inspired to write the feature film after stumbling upon a salacious selfie of a teenage boy from Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn.
“It had an interesting tension of being homoerotic and hyper-masculine,” Eliza told The Daily Beast. Capturing that tension, Beach Rats explores gay sexuality in a powerful, raw and very explicit way.