Some time back getting a film accurately depicting the transgender or transsexual subject was hard. The few in between that managed to feature the subject used cis actors. For instance, Eddie Redmayne in The Danish girl as Lili Elbe. Artistic portraits such as that of Tilda Swinton in Orlando made cut it as a representation of transgender people.
However, the use of real-life transgender people in these films was non-existent, to say the least.
Now, it’s remarkable how the times have changed. The transsexual people have had breakthroughs and achievements that were once unfathomable. We decided to compile a list of the best films dealing with transgressive matters.
Touch Me Not
The winner of the Golden Bear award went on to become a sensation not only for depicting the transgender subject but for featuring various sensitive approaches to sexuality. Based on its candidness and a refreshingly new outlook on sexuality it seems to dispute the pre-established orthodoxies.
Adina Pintillie managed to bring to life the dialogue of a real-life character with the right amount of fiction. Christion and Hanna, Laura Tomas and Hanna have incongruous approaches to their sexualities but work together in the film to overcome their fears.
Hanna, who’s a 50 years old transsexual is self-assured about her body and sexuality even though she does not correspond to the beauty standards. Laura strives to be more poised and free. Christian and Hanna are pretty much the benchmark for the norm but have their sexuality more figured out. They often engage their wild sides by participating in BDSM clubs, happily get naked, and experiment their sexual fantasies openly.
Broken Linn da (inn da Quebrada) is neither a man nor a woman. She’s far from the normative transsexual either. She’s a blend of all these identities. She coined the term Tranny Fag herself and doesn’t conform to the standard labels set. She manages to strike a balance between being subversive and aberrative. Tender and affectionate yet decisively confrontational.
The film revolves around the life of a Brazilian singer who recently rose to fame. You get to hear her transgressive musical lyrics from the subtitles translated to English. The singer has a hard time conforming to gender fluidity. She describes her body as a political instrument advocating for the rights of the minorities.
Sidney and Friends
The 75 minutes Trans Movie directed by Tristian Aitchison revolves around intersex and Trans people in Kenya. When his family rejects him and tries to kill him, Sidney the transgender protagonist flees to Nairobi where he is introduced to a group of transgender people who later become his friends.
They fight against discrimination and learn to appreciate their self-worth as the documentary progresses. While the plot relates the prejudice and discrimination to the LGBTI community, it sheds a light on the struggles of the sexual minority population.
A Kid like Jake
The film follows the footsteps of Jake (James Leo) and his parents (Greg Wheeler) and Alex (Claire Danes) as they come to terms with how to raise a transgender kid. The film is an adaptation of Daniel Pearle’s 2013 play. The internal conflict of trying to find a good kindergarten for their son despite their limited financial options spills to their marriage.
With the pressure mounting up from work courtesy of the scream therapist next door and the fraught of a second pregnancy, the plot is rich and immersive. It is quite a theatrical film in which acting and dialogue are kings. The delicately plotted yet relevant unique story make the film stand out.
The Girl is a 2018 drama from Belgium directed by Lukas Dhont. It tells the story of Lara who yearns to become a ballerina with help from traditional female ballerina training. Lara is admitted to a ballet school and her dream seem to be at an arm’s reach. But there’s only one problem, Lara’s body morphology is that of a boy.
A body she sets out to push to the limits to succeed. Except for the scene where Lara is reduced to her unique genitalia by her peers, most of the drama is not outsourced.
Rather, Lara battles with the internal pressure of physical struggle. Generally, the fight is to keep herself from looking like a boy amidst the strict standards required for ballet stars. That said, Lukas Dhont manages to strike the perfect balance at the end. He manages to bring out the best of both worlds heartbreak and hope.