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By AlexaCA4uWRU^wTi-!gIXxWn1j%[email protected]%[email protected][email protected]*L5 Lou, previously from Singapore International Film Festival

In the last few years, I have developed a pet peeve about many LGBTQ+ films, especially those from Asia; a lot of them are still stuck in a world of repressive themes about unrequited love, drugs, sex, AIDS, etc. I acknowledge that these are undeniable aspects of gay life, that it is important to remember how far we have come, and all the lessons we have learned. However, I wish that Asian LGBTQ+ film can cover brooder themes to demonstrate the humanity in all of us.

Watch Bao Bao on GagaOOLala


Bao Bao (Image from GagaOOLala)

I am pleased to say this 2018 Taiwanese film offered a glimmer of hope. Written by Angel Teng I-Han 鄧依涵, who was born and raised in Taiwan and currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree in Film Directing at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), the story revolved around a Taiwanese lesbian couple living in London, Cindy (Emmie Rays 雷艾美) and Joanne (Ke Huan-Ru 柯奐如), and their quest to have a baby. They decided to collaborate with their good friends Charles (Yukihiko Kageyama 蔭山征彥) and Tim (Tsai Li-Yun 蔡力允), a gay couple who also wanted to build a family. After trying unsuccessfully to conceive on their own, they pulled their resources together to pay for an expensive in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedure.


Bao Bao (Image from GagaOOLala)

Cindy was the one who became pregnant with twins, and the agreement was for the couples to adopt one baby each. Sadly, Cindy had a miscarriage in her first trimester, and only one fetus survived. Unable to deal with the stress and uncertainty, the five-month pregnant Cindy flew back to Taiwan, where she reconnected with her childhood friend Tai (Yankee Yang 楊子儀), and had to decide between Joanne and an alternative future with Tai.


Bao Bao (Image from GagaOOLala)

I was impressed by the maturity of Teng's first screenplay, which not only handled the controversial topic of gay parenting with grace, but also managed numerous story threads cohesively while switching between timelines. This was also the feature debut for director Shie Guang-Cheng 謝光誠, who delivered a sincere and moving film that had universal appeal, even though I am not 100% on board with the ending (according to Shie, it was a tribute to his idol David Bowie, who passed away during production).


Bao Bao (Image from GagaOOLala)

The film was well received at numerous international festivals including Outfest, Taiwan International Queer Film Festival, Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, Asia Pacific Film Festival, Seattle's TWIST Film Festival, and Barcelona International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and it was an excellent example of how a commitment to authentic storytelling can elevate a film, and demonstrated that LGBTQ+ stories can be rich and relatable for all audiences.

Watch Bao Bao on GagaOOLala

"Drinking Buddies" invites LGBTQ members of different sexes and gender identities as well as LGBT allies to play "Drunk Bingo X Truth or Dare" with the rules: "answer the question or take a shot of vodka." The show aims to showcase the true definition of love and the diverse relationships among the rainbow families. Love will not change simply because of one's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Watch Drinking Buddies Season 2 now on GagaOOLala.

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