We are here with the next edition of our popular weekend feature. Sundays demand cozy afternoons wherein you can enjoy an entertaining movie fiesta.
As such, we have your favorite author’s talking about their “My All-Time Favorite BL Movies”. Without further ado, let’s check out their riveting choices!
HIS the Movie
HIS is a Japanese movie that also includes a prequel mini-series. The drama follows Nagisa and Shun, two boys who first come together in high school and then meet again in adulthood. While the mini-series (which takes place in high school) and the movie can be viewed separately, I always suggest viewers watch them both. The mini-series tells a heartwarming coming out story while the film focuses on two grown men who come back together after heartbreak. The movie also focuses on the obstacles a gay couple faces when trying to gain custody of a child.
Your Name Engraved Herein
Your Name Engraved Herein is a symbolic and very valid Taiwanese film that centers on two gay men coming to terms with themselves and their sexuality during the upheaval and social unacceptance of 1987 post-martial law Taiwan. Although it is a romance, the story focuses more on the trials Birdy and Jia-Han endure in their journey to accept who they are. I love that the romance takes a back seat to what these men gained personally through their journey. This film is powerful and raw, the kind of storytelling that defines a movement rather than a romance.
Restart After Come Back Home
Restart After Come Back Home is a Japanese BL movie that follows Mitsuomi Kozuka and Yamato Kumai. It tells a realistic story about family expectations while also delving into the emotional world of adoption, all while these two men fall in love in a slow, subtle way. This movie is a beautiful example that love isn’t always about passion. Sometimes it simply grows out of companionship and comfort. Mitsuomi Kozuka and Yamato Kumai’s love is the silent type, the kind where someone wakes up and realizes the person they love is right there next to them.
No Touching at All
2014 Japanese BL film based on the manga of the same name, No Touching at All, is a workplace romance about two men with a painful past and two very different personalities. While Shima is more reserved, Togawa is a bit rude and rough. Shima tends to hold his feelings close to him while Togawa is open about his. Like many of the films I watch, I like that this movie focused on two very different personalities dealing with very real hurts in an authentic work environment while also falling in love.
The Stranger by the Shore
Based on the manga series by Kana Kii, The Stranger by the Shore is an animated Japanese BL movie following aspiring novelist Shun (who is cut off from his family after coming out as gay) and the reserved, ocean-loving Mio. Although this is animated, the film certainly deserves its place on this list. The film tells a very detailed and raw story about a grieving boy and a jaded young man. They become a healing place for each other. Shun becomes the home Mio needs while Mio offers Shun the accepting embrace he desires.
The hard part about writing about my favourite BL Films was not that I had too many to choose from, but too few. I started my foray into live-action BL with the “OG” Boys Love movie starring then-BL-movie-staple Saito Takumi and Kotani Yoshikazu and I do not recommend it for anything beyond a nostalgia trip. However, BL films have gotten so much better over the decades.
The Korean adaptation of Yoshinaga Fumi’s Antique Bakery is one of my favourite movies of all time, BL or not. It’s fun, entertainingly surreal, and has a strong emotional core at the heart of it all. All this is helped by a stellar cast led by Kim Jae-Wook as the genius baker and self-proclaimed Gay of Demonic Charm, and Ju Ji-hoon as the sweet-hating bakery owner who hires him. All the actors in the main cast have great chemistry playing off each other and the film really captures the wholesome (with a hint of darkness) storyline of the manga. I still rewatch Antique when I’m feeling down and it never fails to lift my mood. Warning: you will have a craving for pastries.
Seven Days: Monday to Thursday
This should actually be considered a double feature with Seven Days: Friday – Sunday, two movies for the price of one!
This Japanese BL film is a very faithful adaptation of the manga by Tachibana Venio and Takaharai Rihito, right down to the dialogues, most of them lifted straight from the source material. My favourite thing about the movies is how they’re paced so slow, really giving you time to get to know the main characters and watch them fall in love. Both Seven Days films have some pretty good performances of compelling acting from the leads and a quiet, dreamlike quality.
Your Name Engraved Herein
First things first, I don’t like a lot of angst in my BL and I definitely don’t care for sad endings. However, this Taiwanese movie is undeniably good and I begrudgingly accept it among my favourites. A story of young love at a time when happy endings were near impossible, Your Name Engraved Herein is the kind of film that is visually stunning and well-acted, with some really great cinematography and music shining through. If you watch this film, it’s likely that, like me, you will love and hate some of the characters. You will probably not like the ending much. And you will suffer, but it’s the good kind of, semi-cathartic, suffering.
Ossan’s Love: Love or Dead
Now for a bit of mood whiplash. If you enjoyed the campy histrionics of Ossan’s Love the series like I did, you will definitely understand why it’s only list of favourites. It picks up exactly where the series left off with Haruta and Maki, brings back good old Kurosawa and the rest of the team, and introduces new characters. Add a heavy dose of hijinks, shenanigans and more relationship drama into the mix, all culminating in an unnecessarily dramatic ending that only production with this energy level can pull off, and you’ve got a winner.
We will be back next week with the second part of this feature. So till then, keep watching this space as we bring you more exclusives from the Asian BL World!