While some of the world’s most famous gay-themed films are produced in English-speaking countries, the French, have been making some of the world’s best same-sex romances, thrillers and dramas.
We have listed some of the most successful, critically acclaimed French-made/language films and rated them on their Rotten Tomatoes’ (RT) where available.
10 ) Les amitiés particulières (1964) RT 89%
A Special Friendship
Set in the 1930s the story follows two students who become close friends with tragic consequences. The film is based on a novel. Its plot was considered so controversial in 1964 its American release was postponed for three years.
10) Ma Vie En Rose (1997) RT 91%
My Life In Pink
A French/Belgium drama about a young child (Ludovic) whose gender expression leaves the family struggling. The film won a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
10) La Belle Saison (2016) 91%
La Belle Saison is another French/Belgium romance film between two women. Set in 1971, farmer’s daughter Delphine moves to Paris to find her own path when she is introduced to Carole. The rest, as they say, is history.
7) Stranger By The Lake (2014) 93%
The film set on a tranquil isolated lake in a beautiful corner of the French countryside where the beachfront is sparsely occupied by a handful of men sunbathing in the buff. Behind them lies a small wood which is a busy cruising area for gay men.
This is a wonderful erotic thriller, well-written and beautifully photographed in a way that belies the fact that this idyllic looking spot hides such violent and deadly deeds. The story places passion before danger and proves that it is not always a wise choice.
6) Quand On A 17 Ans (2016) RT: 94%
The film follows the sexual awakenings and blossoming romance between two 17-year-old boys who begin their relationship in violence.
5) Call Me By Your Name (2018) RT 95%
The break out coming of age, pan-European film of 2017, based on the novel of the same name. A young man falls in love with his father’s summer intern. The pair falls in love over a long Italian summer with a bitter-sweet ending.
5) Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo (2016) RT: 95%
Two men meet at one of Paris’ most popular, and notorious, gay sex clubs, and then embark on an evening with lots of twist and turns, in the new film Theo & Hugo.
You might think you’re watching a gay porn film as the first 20 minutes of Theo & Hugo is full-on man-to-man action – erections and anal sex are all on full display, filmed at L’Impact – a naked gay sex club in the Marais district in Paris. Theo and Hugo, In French, with English subtitles, is shot in real-time, and it’s in that club where Theo and Hugo meet, at exactly 4:27 a.m., amongst the writhing and moaning group of men who are all enjoying each others’ company.
1) La Cage Aux Folles (1979) RT 100%
A classic comedy romp and the precursor to the 90s Robin Williams / Nathan Lane hit, The Birdcage.
1) Les Invisibles (2012) 100%
A refreshingly honest and prevailing documentary film following the lives of eleven elderly gay men and women, something which has had little representation in gay culture.
A superb collection of intimate autobiographical stories on what it was like growing up being gay and the pain of suppression. Somehow it seems more sincere coming from elderly people with incredibly fascinating memories to share. It was so easy to become affectionate towards these unashamed individuals and their lives.
1) Un chant d’amour (1950) RT: 100%
A Song of Love
Grounding-breaking for its time, Un chant d’amour was actually banned in 1950. Set in a French prison, the guard becomes infatuated with his prisoners. It is just 26 minutes long and there is no dialogue.