While Hollywood has blockbuster queer films Brokeback Mountain (2005), Moonlight (2016) and Call Me By Your Name (2017), social stigmas and cultural taboos mean that LGBTQ+ characters in Asian cinema are scarce. However, several filmmakers have made equally beautiful films celebrating LGBTQ+ characters around Asia. Happy Together – Hong Kong (1997) Notably the most-acclaimed gay Asian film, Happy Together is the brainchild of Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai. Shot in Argentina and Taiwan, the movie follows Yiu-Fai (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and Po-Wing (Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing) who plan to rekindle their romance in South America, but quickly realise their relationship is drifting apart. Its bittersweet realism and heartfelt character studies ensured the film of a Palme d'Or nod and best director award for Wai at Cannes Film Festival. 5 celebrity parents vocally supportive of their LGBTQ+ children Arisan! – Indonesia (2003) Nia Dinata’s Arisan! arrived during Indonesia’s post-New Order regime and enjoyed immense success at the box office and award ceremonies back at home. The only Indonesian film to ever feature a same-sex kiss on the screen is a satirical comedy circling around the well-heeled society in Jakarta and their urbane dilemmas. Our lead is Sakti (Tora Sudiro) a young architect who has difficulty coming to terms with his sexuality, but manages to find acceptance from his gal pals and his partner. The sequel, Arisan! 2 , was released in 2011. Fire – India (1996) View this post on Instagram A post shared by Indian Cinema (@cinemaofindia) on Feb 17, 2016 at 12:06am PST Back when Bollywood was loaded with scripts involving class differences and doppelgänger drama, Deepa Mehta’s Fire came as a novelty, undertaking the first lesbian relationship in mainstream Indian cinema. Loosely based on Ismat Chugtai’s Lihaaf , the film stars veteran actress Shabana Azmi and art-house darling Nandita Das as two women who find solace with each other after their husbands abandon them. The film’s release prompted protests from Hindu extremists that was countered by immense support from Indian filmmakers and the praise of critics. Bollywood’s first gay romcom is a game-changer for LGBTQ+ representation The Handmaiden – South Korea (2016) In 1930 Korea, a handmaiden, a Japanese heiress and a domineering uncle become tangled up in a web of deception. Park Chan-Wook changed its original novel Fingersmith’s Victorian setting to Korean colonialism and consulted a queer woman for sensibility advice that truly translates on the screen. The psychological drama won a BAFTA and became the highest-grossing foreign language film (US$1.8 million) in the UK. Fathers – Thailand (2016) How to answer your son’s questions about why he has two fathers instead of a mother? Exploring what it means to be gay in modern Thailand and an insight into the country’s adoption laws, Palatpol Mingpornpichit’s Fathers gives a different perspective about a child’s welfare being raised by gay parents. 5 Asian queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race – who is your favourite? Alifu The Prince/ss – Taiwan (2017) When Alifu realised his life-long dream is to become a woman, conflict arises as he has to succeed his father as the tribal chief in Taiwan. After his success with Seven Days in Heaven (2010), director Wang Yu-lin returns with an exploration of numerous LGBTQ+ characters in Alifu . The film premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival. A Dog Barking at the Moon – China (2019) Debutant director Xiang Zi’s film tells about an open secret that causes havoc within a family. According to Cineuropa, the Chinese-Spanish produced film tackles subjects like homosexuality, China’s one-child policy and the preference of most Chinese families for a son, rather than a daughter, to continue the family name that are “funny, sad, uproarious and surreal”. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .