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Friday 25 January 2008


Trans Movie

We've been watching queer movies at casaninja, thanks to Netflix. I just saw Ma Vie en Rose, a French and Belgian movie about a 7-year-old transgender child. Um, wow. I wasn't so self-aware at seven, but man, I can relate to parts of that film, like being dragged to therapy. And stressing the heck out of my parents with no idea why or how. Also, the part where hir mom says that everything is going to hell and its all hir fault. . .. Maybe I'm over identifying. Yikes.

The basic plot of the movie is that a heterosexual fmaily moves to some very heterosexual suburbs in Belgium. Their little boy IDs as a girl and wears dresses and scandalizes the neighbors who fly into a homophobic rage. The parents drag the kid to therapy. The kid gets thrown out of school. The father looses his job. The family relocates to France. In France, the family has a transgender kid for a neighbor who forces the main character into a dress to get hirself out of it. The new-to-France mother freaks out and assaults her mtf kid. The nieghbors interviene asking her what the hell is wrong with her. Because they're in France and not Belgium and don't freak out over crossdressing seven year olds.

Then, I think there was sort of a forced happy ending, but I can't say because the disk was screwed up and it wouldn't play past the start of the reconciliation, but I can imagine the dialog (translated into English for your benefit):

Mom: You'll always be my child.

Kid: Even if I'm a girl?

Mom: It's ok, we're in France now. Our neighbors are no longer filled with irrational hate against anybody even slightly different from themsleves.

Kid: So I can be a girl?

Mom: You can have freedom of gender expression until puberty!

The moral of the story is to stay out of Belgium. Sure, the beer's good, but the people are nothing but trouble.

As an aside, are there any happy trans movies that have FTMs in them? Are there any FTM movies at all besides Boys Don't Cry?

Lesbian Movies

We started our movie queue with Go Fish, a lesbian movie form the early 1990's. It tries so very very hard to address all issues relevant to young, urban dykes. And it does pretty well at that quest, even if sometimes unsubtle. There's a lot in about the difficulty of maintaining a minority identity in a hostile culture. One of the main characters worries about dropping into straight society and disappearing. There's a lot of angst like that. Another lead points out that it's easy to be labelled a dyke when you're in a cozy couple, but if you're single and mess around with a guy, man, everybody thinks you're bi. (Well, it was the 90's).

I liked it then and I like it now.

After that we watched Sister George from the late 1960's. It's a British flick. I think the moral of it is to stay out of England.. Hollywood wasn't ready to talk about lesbians, even if it was as relentlessly negative as this movie.

It's based on a play, whose script I happened to read a few years ago. I read the whole thing and had absolutely no idea what was supposed to be going on. It was based on some stereotype of female queerness to which I had never been exposed. I can't say watching the movie cleared it up overly much, but I can say that I think they took the entire play script and put it in the film and then added in scenes that were talked about in the play, just to fill in gaps. The movie was like 3 hours long.

The plot of it is that a woman who plays a nurse in a soap opera is getting written out of the plot, despite being popular and having been on the show for decades. The reason for her firing is because she molested some nuns in a taxi cab. Obviously, she's coming completely unglued. The movie ends with her jobless and with her girlfriend stolen away by her (female) boss, which was played out with perhaps the creepiest sex scene ever put on film. The evil/aroused expression in the boss's face is like something out of 80's German lesbian porn. Aieee!

Given the dearth of other lesbian images in film, this movie was very influential, and I've seen references to it other places. Halberstam writes about it in Female Masculnity, noting that it's not entirely negative. It has the most swniging, happening lesbian bar on film. The bar is packed with happy dancing couples and a girl band. Butch/femme couples abound. One of the femmes even comments that she thinks Sister George is hot. So she's left lonely and jobless at the end, but it's clear she has savings from having been a TV star and living modestly through that time. After she gets out of jail for smashing up the BBC studio, she can pop over to the bar and get a more loyal girlfriend to mistreat. Or therapy. She could really use some therapy.

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