(João Pedro Rodrigues; Portugal/ France; 2009)
This film seems to be an attempt to apply transgender themes and issues to the school of contemplative cinema, but it misses the mark. Essentially we see our transgender protagonist, Tonia, endure a number of tragedies - the fragile relationship with a much younger junkie-boyfriend, coming to the end of a career in drag through being upstaged by younger drag queens, the rejection by her son, and the slow rebellion her own body performs against her. The stillness and quiet that is evoked on a number of occasions is engaging, but the melodrama gets a little wearying at times, and moments wear characters are listening to music or singing themselves are protracted and hamper the film. You know a film is starting to flag when you find yourself more interested in the lead character's pet (in this case a little white Scottish terrier) than the lead character.
The film brings to mind Fassbinder and Almodovar, two brilliant directors who have cast transgender characters in far more intriguing and lively ways. If you really want to see a tragedy based on a transgender character, then you're far better off sticking to Fassbinder's classic In A Year Of Thirteen Moons.