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Nowadays, in contemporary society, everyone can feel free to do as they please. It is universally accepted that we can be explorative in every aspect of our life. All of them except one: romantic and sexual relationships. This area is still restricted by rigid moral standards emanating from the monogamous heterosexual norm. “Why do I have to stay with him forever just because I love him?” “Can sex and love be separated?” “I am gay, but I cannot suddenly realize I am into girls?”.

Here we introduce 5 bizarre yet beautiful indie films that will lead you to explore the gray areas in human relationships:

1. Hide and Seek (2014)*

“The book says that, in this tribe, people change partners every ten years. They don’t have the traditional concept of marriage that we have.” Two couples are confused about the meaning of traditional partnerships and they decide to move from London to the Welsh countryside together. They realize themselves from the shackles of society and let natural desire dictate their lives. Everyone can have sex with each other. He can love him or her. Yet desire is a two-bladed sword, it can give you pleasure but it also causes loneliness, depression and jealousy. Their relationships are on the edge of falling apart. Will these bizarre community come to a good end? Hide and Seek sets an experiment to challenge audience’s moral standards.

Will these four achieve the polyamourous utopia they dream of, or will they self-destruct?

2. Vile Romance (2008)

“You barely know me.”

Can we distinguish between love and sex?

Gay teen Robert was born and raised in a poor household. He does seek success and he has no job. One day, he runs into a vicious gun dealer named Raul. Raul is very discreet about his true sexuality and he is also a time bomb waiting to explode. Plus, Raul likes rough sex which deeply hurts Robert, and although he loves Raul, his sexual dissatisfaction drives him to cheat on him. However, his one-night stand does not let go of him and Raul may find out about his affair…

Vile Romance depicts the dilemma between love and desire via sex and violence.

3. Beyond Love (2014)

"When we were kids we agreed there would be no secrets between us"

A lesbian couple and a gay couple are as close to each other as any family can be. Until one day, Anna tells Marina that she wants a child. Marina is thrilled and totally agrees, but both of them want to be the pregnant one, which problematizes their otherwise perfect relationship. Due to the lack of necessary funds to start a family, Anna wants to prostitute herself but their gay friend Stefano stops her. After returning home, Anna is missing and, and Marina, thinking she is gone, tries to commit suicide. Meanwhile, Stefano, feeling guilty about her fight with Anna, does not tell his boyfriend Tony the truth and secretly helps Marina, which also puts his relationship with Tony in danger.

Beyond Love is an ingenious work directed by Italian director Silvio Alfonso Nacucchi. The story presents the obstacles the Italian LGBT community has encountered.

4. I Kissed a Girl (2014)*

“It’s like you only use iPhone, but then you realize HTC is not bad.”

Can a gay man fall in love with a woman? Sexy guy Jeremie is about to marry his fiancé. But one day he wakes up next to a blonde woman! And what is even worse, he does not seem able to forget about this encounter. This absurd event makes Jeremie really confused. Yet, when he tells his family and friends about it no one takes him seriously. Is he just nervous because of his upcoming wedding or is he really bisexual?

The director of I Kissed a Girl uses humor to mock political correctness. Nowadays, coming out has become a sign of pride but when Jeremie comes out again as a bisexual man, he is received with jokes.

5. Walking Towards (2011)

“No tears, no passion, even no joy or excitement, only a silent energy.”

Emina, a Bosnian immigrant, meets a kind roommate named Antonia in Italy. They soon develop feelings for each other. However, Emina is still haunted by her past. One day, Antonia takes in another man from Bosnia. Then, Emina’s past wounds start to open up…  

Walking Towards deals not only with people’s traumas but also with social relationships, all of them wrapped in the context of the Eastern European wars. How can they forget the past, and embrace the future?

*Film only available in Taiwan.

Author: Matt

Yi-min lives alone with her son, as her husband works away from home. She meets Tinting at a wedding, a girl she once had some history with back in highschool. Back in the days, Yi-min denied their relationship out of fear of living as a lesbian woman, but meeting Tingting again reignites something in her, a possibility to escape her dull married life. Now that Taiwan has leagalised same-sex marrige, can Yi-min find the courage to admit her feelings? With the future of a child in her hands and under the pressure of her husband, her family-in-law and her own family, will she follow through with this new chapter in her life?