From Thelma to Maurice: A wave of LGBT films hits the big screen in Vancouver

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      This year's selection of LGBT films at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) was particularly strong—and the even better news is that a bunch of them are all coming back for theatrical runs. That's in addition to some restored queer classics that are also getting some screentime.

      In fact, there are so many that you can plan your own ostensible queer cinema festival to hide out in theatres from Vancouver's rainy season.

      The Norwegian coming-of-age psychological thriller Thelma is currently playing at the Park Theatre. The dramatic feature follows the titular student in Oslo who begins to experience seizures, as well as paranormal things happening around her, just as she begins to fall for another female student.

      What could it all possibly mean? You'll have to find out for yourself, lest we be accused of spoilers.

      Among the selections at the European Union Film Festival (which is currently running until December 4) is the 2015 Spanish romcom Barcelona Christmas Night, which screens on December 3 at the Cinematheque.

      Barcelona Christmas Night

      This omnibus of love stories (in Catalan and Spanish, with English subtitles) includes the tale of a grandmother who comes out over Christmas dinner.

      The French drama BPM (Beats Per Minute), a no-holds-barred depiction of the inner workings of Paris chapter of AIDS activist group ACT UP during the 1990s, had a theatrical run but will be back at Vancity Theatre on December 8.

      God's Own Country

      It'll be joined by the U.K. feature film God's Own Country, about a young Yorkshire sheep farmer whose life changes with the arrival of a Romanian farmhand.

      Starting on December 9, the life story of a legendary artist best known for his homoerotic illustrations is retold in the biopic Tom of Finland that follows his career from his closeted days making secret beefcake drawings in Helsinki to the publication of his work in California.

      As part of the free, yearlong Canada on Screen series for Canada 150 at the Cinematheque, there are two selections that touch upon LGBT themes and characters.

      On December 13, Clement Virgo's 1995 black Canadian drama Rude follows three Toronto stories, one of which involves a boxer who begins to question his sexuality after he's involved in a gay-bashing.

      I've Heard the Mermaids Singing

      Then on December 15, there's a screening of the restored Canadian classic I've Heard the Mermaids Singing. The 1987 comedy-drama, a commercial and artistic breakthrough in Anglo-Canadian cinema, stars a perfectly cast Sheila McCarthy as a bumbling temp who becomes infatuated with her French Canadian art gallery boss.

      Also on December 15, Rebels on Pointe starts up. The Canadian documentary by filmmaker Bobbi Jo Hart tells the story of the all-male drag troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo founded in New York City.

      On the same day, Call Me By Your Name, which played at VIFF 2017, also gets a theatrical release (screening information is not yet available but check the Cineplex website closer to the release date). Timothée Chalamet stars as the son of an archaeology professor spending his summer in Italy. Things change when he meets and develops an unexpected interest in his father's new assistant (Armie Hammer). 

      If you loved the currently playing The Florida Project—one of this year's most critically acclaimed films—you may want to check out filmmaker Sean Baker's previous film, Tangerine, at Vancity Theatre. Shot on iPhones, the 2015 feature comedy-drama follows two transgender sex workers through the streets of Los Angeles on Christmas Eve, which is also the date that it'll be screened (December 24).


      Before the year closes out, there's also a screening of the 1987 period piece Maurice at Vancity Theatre on December 29. This cinematic adaptation of E.M. Forster's 1971 novel follows two Englishmen (James Wilby and Hugh Grant) struggling to reconcile their feelings for one another amid oppressive British social mores prior to the First World War.

      For full details on these screenings, visit the websites for the CinemathequePark Theatre, or Vancity Theatre.