5 movies to see at Palm Springs' LGBTQ film festival Cinema Diverse

Palm Springs' LGBTQ+ film festival Cinema Diverse kicks off Thursday and will include eight days worth of feature films, documentaries and shorts that can't be missed.

The festival takes place Thursday through Sept. 24 and Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, located at 2300 E. Baristo Road. Opening night will feature a special preview of Billy Clift's new film "Here We Are" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

With so many films on the lineup, it can be daunting to pick and choose which ones to see. Have no fear, The Desert Sun has recommended five films of various genres that movie aficionados should catch at Cinema Diverse.

Tickets and passes for Cinema Diverse are on sale. Individual film tickets cost $14.50, while short sets costs $10. Visit psculturalcenter.org/filmfest for more information.

Mel England, left, and Wil J. Jackson in "Here We Are."
Mel England, left, and Wil J. Jackson in "Here We Are."

"Here We Are"

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21

A love story set in a pandemic − need we say more? It might be a little too close for comfort for some to watch a pandemic film considering all that we've been through the last three and a half years, but one that centers on a couple makes it easier to go down. Not all is dandy in Clift's latest film, however, so prepare for a dramatic time.

"A Better Place"

When: 2:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22

"A Better Place" tackles a very difficult subject, but also a very important one. It takes an in-depth look at the legacy of British colonial-era laws, which criminalize consensual same-sex love, but also allow perpetrators of sexual violence to go unpunished. Countries around the world continue to criminalize same-sex sexual activity, and in many marital rape is legal. A number of brave people tell their stories about how these laws have impacted their lives. The short documentary "Lavender" also screens with this film.

"Legendary Children"

When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24

"Legendary Children" will have its North American debut at Cinema Diverse. The film follows many of the pioneers who started the Pride movement in Europe in 1972, such as Peter Tatchell, Ted Brown, Angela Mason, Stuart Feather, Andrew Lumsden and Nettie Pollard, during the 2022 UK Pride 50 celebration. These legends are still sharing the Pride message across the world. The short document "Stonewall Postal Action Network" will also screen during this timeslot.

"The Mattachine Family"

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28

Family and life after children looks different to everyone, and "The Mattachine Family" tackles the subject in an emotional way. Thomas (Nico Tortorella) and Oscar (Juan Pablo Di Pace) are a couple very much in love who have gotten into the groove of their lives. But after their foster child returns to his birth mother, and Oscar's long-stagnant career as an actor picks up again, Thomas has to consider what he wants in life and what it means to be gay in the present day. The film also stars Emily Hampshire, best known from "Schitt’s Creek."

"Nellie & Nadine"

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30

Love can be found in the most unlikely places, as the compelling documentary "Nellie & Nadine" shows. The film, directed by Swedish documentary filmmaker Magnus Gertten, explores the lives of Nadine Hwang and Nelly Mousset-Vos, two women who fell in love on Christmas Eve 1944 in the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany. Mousset-Vos' granddaughter, Sylvie Bianchi, shares diary entries and letters written by the women, which reminds us all just how strong love can be even in the cruelest of moments.

For a full list of films, visit psculturalcenter.org/filmfest/schedule-at-a-glance

Ema Sasic covers entertainment and health in the Coachella Valley. She's also a freelance film critic and member of the Hollywood Critics Association. Reach her at ema.sasic@desertsun.com or on Twitter @ema_sasic.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: 5 movies to see at Palm Springs' LGBTQ film festival Cinema Diverse