A look at current and upcoming LGBTQ+ films available to stream

Two shirtless men on a beach in a scene from ‘Burning Days.’
A scene from ‘Burning Days.’

A handful of terrific LGBTQ+ features, plus a documentary and comedy special, are now available (or coming next week) to streaming platforms, VOD, and DVD. Here is a rundown of what to watch.

“Silver Haze, now out on VOD and DVD, is a gritty and grim drama from Britain about Franky (Vicky Knight) who still has unresolved trauma issues fifteen years after an incident where she was burned in a fire. At her job as a nurse, she meets Florence (Esme Creed-Miles), a mercurial young woman who winks at her one day. They soon begin a passionate affair which prompts Franky to move out of her family home and in with Florence, who lives with Alice (Angela Bruce) and Jack (Archie Brigden). But tensions between Franky and Florence boil over leading to a reckless act of violence. Franky is a raw ball of anger and watching Knight’s emotional performance—which alternates between seething and being soothed — is what makes “Silver Haze” so arresting.

Documentarians film a scene from ‘Transition.’
A scene from ‘Transition.’

“Transition,” now available on all major streaming platforms, is a fascinating documentary, co-directed (with Monica Villamizar) by its subject, Jordan Bryon, a reporter in Afghanistan who is also transitioning to become a man. Jordan’s gender dysphoria is notable, as he “just wants to be seen like I feel,” and is more comfortable as an anonymous man in Afghanistan than in a gay bar in Sydney. “Transition” explores that interesting idea as Jordan questions gender roles in the Middle East. Moreover, he finds that the deeper he gets into the Taliban’s world, the harder it is for him to keep his personal and professional lives separate. As he hopes to keep Afghanistan in the news, get his surgery in Iran, and help his cameraman — Teddy — leave Afghanistan, Bryon takes on a lot — and his impassioned documentary takes viewers along with him.

Tig Notaro: Hello Again,” out now on Amazon Prime, is the lesbian comedian’s latest stand-up special. Shot in Brooklyn, she talks briefly about her wife, Stephanie Allynne, who directed the special, and their twin sons. In addition, she tells a very funny anecdote (with a great punchline) about a fireman who helps the comedian when she has stomach pains. Notaro also mines humor from her inability to hear or understand certain words, which is amusing, even though she explains the jokes after telling them. Better is her recounting what she almost texted while hallucinating while medicated after having back surgery. Notaro’s expressions here are pricelessly funny. The hour-long special ends with Notaro playing the piano — something she does cross-legged, no less — because, well, she can. What she performs may be the highlight of the act. It certainly had the live audience in stitches.

“Carnal Sins,” now available on VOD and DVD, by writer/director Juan Sebastián Torales, is a compelling story about Nino (Nicolás Díaz), a gay teen who is first seen kissing a boy and next seen being bullied and beaten up. His parents take him to live in the countryside where he is forced to attend a church youth group. But the quiet Nino is more interested in the Almamula, a “monster” that has reportedly disappeared young boys, like Maria’s (Luisa Lucía Paz) grandson Panchito. And Nino tries to summon Almamula by having impure thoughts — one with a male friend of his sister’s, and another about Jesus. While the film addresses issues of sexuality and sin, a pair of scenes between Nino and Malevo (Beto Frágo), a handyman, throb with erotic tension. “Carnal Sins” shifts between fantasy and reality as Nino determines how he can live in the world he is in. Torales’ film is a bit elusive, but it exacts a hypnotic pull on viewers. 

Burning Days” out April 2 on VOD and DVD is an absorbing slow-burn thriller from Turkey about Emre (Selahattin Pasali), a prosecutor starting a new job in the small town of Yaniklar. Emre wants to take action against the rampant corruption, but the powerful locals want to keep Emre under their thumb. As they conspire to do this, Emre befriends Murat (Ekin Koç), a journalist who wants to expose the powerful. However, Murat and Emre are soon rumored to be lovers, causing more problems. As Emre pieces together the truth, while also being targeted by the townsfolk, “Burning Days” builds to a gripping conclusion. Writer/director Emin Alper has crafted an intense drama about homophobia, and the attractive leads, Pasali and Koç, deliver superb performances.

“Skin Deep,” which comes to VOD and DVD on April 2, is an intriguing body swap story that won the Queer Lion at the 2022 Venice Film Festival. Straight couple Leyla (Mala Emde) and Tristan (Jonas Dassler) travel to an island where folks are able to swap bodies. Leyla and Tristan are first selected by lottery to swap with Mo (co-writer Dimitrij Schaad) and Fabienne (Maryam Zaree). But that causes trouble as Mo (in Tristan’s body) wants to have sex with Tristan in Mo’s body, who does not consent. Eventually, Leyla takes the body of Roman (Thomas Wodianka) and has great sex with Tristan. The couple may finally be reconnecting, but when Leyla as Roman wants to run off with Tristan, he is wary. Leyla appears to be happiest as Roman and enjoys having a penis, which has a trans reading. But the film could also suggest these characters are bisexual, or genderfluid, or polyamorous. Viewers can decide as the story plays out, while raising provocative questions about gender, identity and desire.

A group of men carry someone in the water in a scene from ‘Skin Deep.’
A scene from ‘Skin Deep.’
Newsletter Sign-up