2020 was the anniversary of Taiwan's same-sex marriage bill as well as the year in which GagaOOLala, Asia's largest Queer streaming service, went global. A year has come and gone, and the network continues to grow at an exceptional rate. With the goal to show the world Taiwanese talent and creativity, the platform created Queer Up The Volume, an anthology project featuring 10 separate stories, directors, theme songs, and music videos – many of which to critical acclaim. Stepping into 2022, let us take a look back at the network's top ten lesbian titles of the past year!
10. We are Gamily
Wu Gang lives with his gay partner Sam in Chengdu where same-sex marriage is still illegal, and “marriages of convenience” are commonly used as white lies by the LGBT community in China for the sake of not troubling elderly family members.
But things change overnight when Gang’s mother, Yu-Hua, who is desperate to have grandchildren, decides to move in with her son and daughter-in-law Yang Duo. She even forces her daughter Wu Rou, Gang’s twin sister, to live with them. What's more is that Wu Rou and Yang Duo soon hit it off with each other.
Wu Gand then proposes that Wu Rou could marry Sam, as in a“marriages of convenience” and they could be a big family together. The idea at first seems like a good one, but reality soon kicks in. Can they truly be a family together after all this…?
Yashima is a plumber confused about being a "woman". She has slept with men but never found herself satisfied. One day, Yashima goes to an uncanny house to work and meets Kyu, who gazes at Yashima with seemingly desperate eyes. Baring her own secrets, Yashima and the broken-hearted girl Kyu soon find themselves lost in each other’s souls as if it was meant to be. Soon, their desires to possess one another becomes overwhelming…
8. From Bottom of the Vortex
Friendship? Or Love? Kiko struggles with this dilemma towards the emotions she has with her best friend. Should Kiko tell her how she feels? Or should Kiko keep the feeling to herself to protect their friendship? “Tell her, or don’t tell her” is the dilemma that every lesbian faces growing up. More to that, if you find out that your best friend falls in the love with another girl, it is more devastating and regretful.
Izumi Okamura, the actor who won the Best Newcomer of the Blue Ribbon Awards with director Yukisada Isao’s first pink film Aroused by Gymnopedies. Izumi Okamura partners up with Sayaka Hashimoto as best friends in the film. Their love towards one another slowly flows through their eyes, it is just heart-wrenching seeing them parted ways.
7. Below Her Mouth
Jasmine is an editor for a fashion magazine who lives with her fiancé. At a party of her friend, she meets Dallas, a roofer who just came out of a serious relationship. They share a powerful and immediate connection that inevitably derails both of their lives.
6. A Sweetest Kiss
In 1949, Alice Mitchell works as a prostitute on the street. After her situation worsens, she unsuccessfully attempts to reconcile with her estranged family over her homosexuality. She takes shelter at a Christian household and wins them over by falsely adopting their faith, despite opposition from their in-law, Lillian. While the time there, Alice's infatuation with the family's daughter, Annabel, grows. After Lillian reveals Alice's homosexuality, Alice redoubles her efforts to rid herself of it to no avail as she succumbs to a relationship with Annabel.
5. Kiss Me (With Every Heartbeat)
Kiss Me is a delightful film reminiscent of the classic Canadian queer romance movie When Night Is Falling. Frida and Mia are supposed to be stepsisters but they become madly in love with each other at their parents’ wedding. An impending storm strikes their family and their love for each other might 'defile' the pure land of Scandinavia. Besides the courageous pursuit of love, you'll also see the vivid history of lesbians in the film.
4. Handsome Stewardess
Holly, a “Handsome Tomboy” bartender met Meng Lian, a Singapore national karate player. They fall in love instantly. To maintain their relationship, Holly decided to test for the flight attendant. Manly as Holly is, she still faced many difficulties during the training process. She even got harassed by passengers several times. Soon, Being a flight attendant no longer satisfies Holly, who is a very ambitious person and knows what she wants. As for Meng Lian, how is she going to survive between the pressure of coming out to her parents and the unstoppable love from Holly?
3. More than or Equal to 75 Celsius
Tea Master v.s. Marketing Manager. The two of them get totally different perspectives on tea. However, through the process of working together, they come up with something wonderful named love. Can they create a perfect tea beverage that’s more than or equal to 75 Celsius and develop a sustainable relationship together at the same time?
2. Wrath of Desire
“Who killed Phoenix Du?”’
Phoenix Du is a tattoo artist who just got out of jail. The first one who confessed to the crime is a prosecutor named Jade Liu. Jade is the one who put Phoenix in jail in the first place. Yet, Jade’s newly wedded husband Meng Ye confessed that: he is the one who did it, after waking up from a coma.
Nothing can speak for Phoenix, but those 372 letters she wrote during her time in prison. Those letters are the love letters that she was never able to send. But shortly after her release, those letters become the ignition of desires, jealousy, hatred… between the three. In the end, the love from hell inevitably attracts an irreversible murder.
1. Fragrance of the First Flower
Yi-Ming is living a life as a “sort” of a single mom, her husband is working in another city, she takes care of their son by herself. At a wedding, she bumps into her high school friend Tingting, they used to be intimate once back in high school. But the relationship ended abruptly because Yi-Ming refused to accept the idea of homosexuality at the time. The encounter with Tingting saves Yi-Ming from her tedious, monotonous marriage and also reignites the feelings they once had for one another. This time, Taiwan has already passed the same-sex marriage law now, can Yi-Ming pluck up the courage to admit her feeling toward Tingting? Or will she be trapped by the social expectations like those from her husband, her family-in-law, her own family, the future of her son, and never able to get a hold of her own future?