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In the history of Chinese-speaking cinema, there are plenty of lesbian-related films. Here, we have selected 6 brilliant Chinese lesbian films from recent years. Let’s discover how these women express their strong wills under the repression of traditional Chinese society and culture. They are like the grass growing defiantly through the cracks in the stone.

1. Spider Lilies (2007)

“There is an unknown story behind every tattoo.”

It is the first Teddy-Award-winning Taiwanese movie in history. Starring Rainie Yang and Isabella Leong, the film deals with the dust-laden feelings and memories of these two women. Spider Lilies not only delivers the love of a lesbian couple, it also explores themes of family, self-salvation, and self-realization, all symbolized under the tattoo of “Manjusaka.” This shape represents a person’s past and also has a link with her desire for an ideal future.

2. The Chinese Botanist's Daughters (2006)

“Before you came, I was so lonely, terribly lonely. After you came, I no longer feel loofxkKh^U32yej!M)B^59+sL!ZNg0ZJ@81^GhZezr116dg(ka9^nely anymore.”

Directed by French travel writer Dai Sijie and produced by Luc Besson , The Chinese Botanist’s Daughters explores women’s struggles against patriarchy and gender discrimination. Though this is a French-funded film, it still features beautifully stunning typically Chinese landscapes, all recreated by the director in Vietnam. It tells the story of an orphan, Li Ming, who comes to a little island and learns how to plant herbs from a botanist. Yet, she secretly has an unspoken relationship with his daughter, a forbidden love in that era. Their relationship is ultimately crushed under the power of patriarchy.

3. Saving Face (2004)

“You told your mom about us? Does she know we have sex?”

Directed by Alice Wu, this comedy tells the story of a girl raised in a traditional Chinese family. Her biggest problem? Keeping up with the traditional value of family honor, known as “saving face.” First and foremost, she has to keep her relationship with her girlfriend a secret. In addition, she has to find a husband for her mother, who is kicked out of her family when she becomes pregnant. This film explores not only the lesbian relationship but also the warming relationship between mother and daughter as they struggle together against the chains of traditional Chinese value – saving face.

4. Blue Gate Crossing (2002)

“I think I am into girls, so I do ncRNe)+#keP)8Ex%qC4HMwi#-H(k-KRm28@#=g+fIfJ$p!JtraMot like you at all.”

A simple and unforgettable love triangle: he loves her, but she loves her. Taiwanese director Yee Chih Yen tells in Blue Gate Crossing an adolescent love story. The plot is smooth and simple, a love triangle between two teenage girls and a boy, yet it has a fresh and beautiful style. It leaves a trace behind like an old, fond memory.

5. Intimates (1997)

Yi Huang runs into her first love. She accidently gets pregnant and tells her secret to her friend, the noted singer Yu Huang, who helps her become an intimate girl, a woman pretending to be. Surprisingly, Yu Huang reveals that she has had feelings for her for a long time. After several emotional rejections, she finally understands Yu Huang’s love for her. However, when she decides to hold her hands, the Japanese air force is approaching…

6. Candy Rain (2008)

“I am the candy you want, which is bittersweet.”

Candy Rain is a movie that comprises four short stories depicting lesbian love. They are refreshing and with a bit of melancholy in the mix. The four stories involve four different couples living in the same apartment building in Taipei. All of them receive an anonymous package, which is originally for a person named Candy Rain. This is Taiwanese director Chen Hung Yi first lesbian film, and he successfully portrayed the beautiful but painful nuanced moments in these women’s relationships.