FQ Columnist Paul Julian Smith discusses a new cinematic phenomenon that has emerged in Mexico in the last five years: the transgender documentary. Three features have appeared so far, all by first-time directors: Morir de pie (To Die Standing Up, Jacaranda Correa, 2011), Quebranto (Disrupted, Roberto Fiesco, 2013), and Made in Bangkok (Flavio Florencio, 2015). The films are self-proclaimed stories of love, even as they testify intermittently to disruption or affliction (quebranto, from quebrar or “to break” as cited in one title). This article examines the three commonalities of these films: they address their protagonists’ activity either in the performing arts or in politics; their geographical reach extends beyond the borders of the Mexican state; and their transnational narratives break out of the barriers of subjectivity to embrace an analysis of intersubjectivity.
Screenings: Letter from Mexico: Transgender Documentary
Paul Julian Smith is Distinguished Professor in the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Languages and Literatures Program of the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is the author of seventeen books, most recently Mexican Screen Fiction: Between Cinema and Television (Polity, 2014) and Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodóvar, third edition (Verso, 2014).
Paul Julian Smith; Screenings: Letter from Mexico: Transgender Documentary. Film Quarterly 1 September 2016; 70 (1): 96–99. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2016.70.1.96
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