In recent years, cinema and TV have tried to give voice to transgender stories, in order to make us understand their journey. Finally, a subject as sensitive and debated as gender has come to Hollywood. Cinema is the only public medium that dares to talk about transgender and dares to be honest about it, in fact it portrays transgender people as normal human beings. Despite the presence of illustrious precedents such as ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ and ‘Priscilla’, it is only in recent times that we see a greater proliferation of transgender-themed films, a symptom of a mental shift that has finally taken place among viewers. This is a symptom of a mental change that has finally taken place among viewers and society. In other words, we are faced with an awareness and a need for in-depth analysis of a world that is all too often ignored or denigrated, and which only cinema, a social mirror with an empathetic and involving power, can portray.
Here is a list of the best films about transgender people:
1- “The Danish Girl” 2015 film based on the novel “The Danish Girl” David Ebershoff and inspired by Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener.
Einar Wegener is a landscape painter, husband of portrait painter Gerda Wegener. Einar dresses up as a woman to pose as a model in one of his wife’s paintings for fun. He assumes the identity of Lili Elbe, his female alter ego, which allows him to discover his true nature. Einar will undergo chemical castration to alleviate his desire to be Lili, but even after that he was not able to stop being her. After realising that he has lived his whole life in denial of his being, he could never go back to the way it was.
2- 2005’s ‘Trans America’ is one of the few films with a transgender theme that has managed to depart from a certain type of narrative in which trans people are portrayed in a stereotypical way.
Duncan Tucker’s film, which won actress Felicity Huffmann the Golden Globen award for Best Actress, is a road movie between drama and comedy that deals fairly with the theme of transgenderism and delicately with that of unexpected parenthood.
3- “Breakfast on Pluto”, by Neil Jordan, the story of the protagonist’s journey in search of herself and her gender identity. The background to this film is Ireland in the 1960s, a Catholic country hostile to LGBTQ+ people.
Between dramatic and funny moments, this film had the narrative merit at the time of never verging on banality, in fact the director confirmed himself as a sensitive and nuanced narrator of the transition experience.
Other well-known films dealing with the Non binary theme are:
1- “I’m not an Easy Man”, a brilliant French anti-binary comedy, directed by Eléonore Pourriat that makes us reflect on sexism and gender discrimination.
Damien (Vincent Elbaz), who, after suffering a head injury, wakes up immersed in a real matriarchal society where the roles attributed to men and women are completely reversed. He goes from being a womanizer and playboy to being harassed, raped and humiliated by powerful women who wear ties, urinate standing up, drive big cars and annoy men in the street. An exchange of roles in which Damien will be confronted with what, at the end of the day, many women are forced to experience every day. The principle of inversion reaches its climax when Damien falls head over heels Alexandra (Marie-Sophie Ferdane), a shameless and unprejudiced writer with whom he begins a relationship with unexpected consequences.
2- “Gabi”, a documentary in which a little girl refuses any kind of gender label and does not recognise the differences between boys and girls. In this film, we follow the changes Gabi goes through, the difficulties in confronting the gender expectations imposed by society and the discomfort of the onset of secondary sexual characteristics. With simplicity and naturalness, in a straightforward and naive manner, Gabi confronts us with the meaninglessness of gender differences, telling us about a first-person experience.