When people think of Hong Kong cinema, images of old-school kung fu films featuring death-defying stunts and stars like Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan might come to mind. Others might think of melodramas, romances and even iconic comedy flicks. But there’s a lesser known film genre that’s worth viewers’ attention too: art house films. The evocative and bold style of film thrived in the late 80s and has been gradually picking up steam not only with local film viewers, but also among international audiences. Pride in Asia: 6 LGBTQ+ films to watch from Happy Together to The Handmaiden Art house films can typically cover “taboo” topics that are not portrayed in mainstream film plots. LGBTQ+ issues were once such a topic in Hong Kong society – and, in many ways, the city still has a long way to go when it comes to accepting and empowering LGBTQ+ communities. But one significant change is that queer storylines are becoming gradually more common in the media. Hong Kong cinema has many films that revolve around LGBTQ+ characters and their lives. Here are some of the best that you should check out … Happy Together (1997) Internationally renown director Wong Kar-wai – who created 2046 , In the Mood for Love and Chungking Express – released Happy Together in 1997, following the relationship of Ho Po-wing and Lai Yiu-fai as they move to Buenos Aires. Since its release, Happy Together has been described as the “most acclaimed gay Asian film”, and has been praised and recognised artistically by other filmmakers. The film won, and was nominated for, several awards. Its wins include best director at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, best cinematography at the 34th Golden Horse Awards (to Christopher Doyle) and best actor at the 17th Hong Kong Film Awards (to Tony Leung). Suk Suk (2019) Meaning “uncle” in Cantonese – a familiar way to address an older male acquaintance – Suk Suk is about the lives of Pak and Hoi, who meet each other by chance. Through sharing their personal histories, the two men realise they have more in common than they thought, releasing their true feelings after being repressed for so long by society and their roles as father figures. Aside from providing representation for elderly LGBTQ+ couples, Suk Suk is also critically acclaimed and won several awards, including multiple best actor awards for leading man Tai Bo. From fat-shamed teen to Canto-pop icon: Keung To’s incredible journey A Woman is a Woman (2018) Created by trans filmmaker Mimi Wong, A Woman is a Woman follows the lives of two trans women, a housewife and a teenager. They face personal difficulties and crave to be integrated in society – something they have in common despite their age difference and different stages of life. The film highlights the struggles and prejudices they face – even from those closest to them – as they try to become more visible as trans women in Hong Kong society. Wong has also helmed other projects about the transgender community, like Hong Kong Transgender Stories. All About Love (2010) In All About Love , two past lovers unexpectedly meet again at a counselling group for expecting mothers. Written and produced by Ann Hui , the film is based on a true story. And not only does the film explore the reignited romantic feelings between protagonists Anita and May, it also shows the lives of same-sex couples in Hong Kong … all while being lighthearted and comedic. After its initial release, Hui said in an interview with MovieWeb that there were not that many investors in the film due to same-sex relationships being a taboo topic in China, along with Hong Kong’s film market heavily relying on the Chinese market. Which Hong Kong celebrity couple had the most expensive wedding? Butterfly (2004) Based on the Taiwanese novel The Mark of Butterfly , Butterfly follows Flavia, who is a closeted married high school teacher who falls in love with Yip, a singer-songwriter. Flavia’s repressed attraction towards the other woman comes to light, despite her being brought up in a homophobic society. Butterfly has been recognised as one of Hong Kong’s first firms exploring a same-sex relationship in a serious manner. God of songs … and property: Jacky Cheung’s US$55 million Repulse Bay flat Tracey (2018) Tracey explores the life of Travis, a 51-year-old married father of two played by Philip Keung. After receiving news of a friend’s death, reconnecting with his friend’s husband, and multiple other things in his life going awry, Travis realises that he wishes to transition – becoming Tracey. Despite backlash from her family, she perseveres and follows what she feels is right in her heart. Keung said in an interview with Topick that he felt empowered by playing the role of Tracey after remembering one of his childhood classmates who was bullied at a young age, who he coincidentally met as a confident transgender woman many years later. Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .