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Leading ladies.

leading ladies.

Maudern Movies, a weekly series that curates films for your viewing pleasure. The following flicks were curated by LA-based couple Natalie Shirinian, Filmmaker, Founder of NES and Femme en Feast, and Elizabeth BaudouinWriter, Partner at NES.

Before blockbusters Portrait of a Lady of Fire or Moonlight, few films showcased the depth of desire in the discovery of the identity like the following pictures. These under-highlighted films of the 90s show powerful examples of same-sex female relationships and the lengths some will go for love. These early depictions of lesbian relationships buck the traditional heteronormativity of Hollywood representing strong and in some cases true stories of love and resilience. 

This list includes decade-depicting stories like Aimee & Jaguar, a story of a German wife and her affair with a Jewish woman who has been living underground in Berlin. In Chutney Popcorn, a young queer woman battles with her family over her identity as she acts as the surrogate for her sister. The remaining films—including Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of a real-life model in Gia—show the gritty and underground love affairs of cities before the turn of the century. The following films of the 90s have been instrumental in the depiction of the same-sex relationships of women. 

Bound, 1996
Directed by: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Starring: Gina Gershon, Jennifer Tilly, Christopher Meloni

Fresh out of prison, a young woman Corky falls for her neighbor Violet (Tilly). Violet, the girlfriend of a notorious gangster’s feelings are reciprocated and the two devise a plan to get her out of her boyfriend’s grip. 

Where to watch: Amazon, HBO

Gia, 1998
Directed by: Michael Cristofer
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Faye Dunaway, Mercedes Ruehl

Gia (Jolie) is a young aspiring model who moves to New York to pursue her dreams. She falls in the graces of an agent (Dunaway) who helps propel her career forward. While coasting towards the top a relationship with make-up artist Linda begins but Gia’s addiction complicates their relationship and her career.

Where to watch: Amazon, Hulu

Aimee & Jaguar, 1999
Directed by: Max Färberböck
Starring: Maria Schrader, Juliana Kohler, Johanna Wokalek

Set in 1943 Germany in the midst of World War 2, a love begins between two unlikely persons—the mother of a German nationalist family and a Jewish woman who is part of the underground community, hiding for fear of their lives. The dangerous affair brings renewed hope to both women as they watch their countries and communities in turmoil as the war rages on.

Where to watch: Amazon, Youtube

Chutney Popcorn, 1999
Directed by: Nisha Ganatra
Starring: Nisha Ganatra, Jill Hennessy, Sakina Jaffrey

Having grown up in a traditional Indian household, Reena (Gantra) is the outlier, bucking tradition and dating a white woman. Her older sister Sarita (Jaffrey) has long been the perfect child until she sadly finds out her inability to have children. Reena decides to have the child for her sister, hoping to win the favor of her parents—but must convince her girlfriend Lisa (Hennessy) a baby won’t get in the way of their relationship.

Where to watch: Vudu, Amazon