Saturday, July 29, 2006
"Crying Game 2001?" Well, not quite.
I loved "the Crying Game", a late '80's tale of genderbent love by the incomparable Neil Jordan. The difference in audience reaction is extreme 20 years later. Crying Game played in mainstream theaters, "Princesa" may have seen action in the big cities on the coast and Miami.
Crying Game is from the perspective of the straight man in love with a transexual, Princesa is from the point of view of the transexual, aka Princesa, aka Fernanda, aka Fernando.
This is a well shot film. Fernando is from Brazil, but most of the movie takes place in Milan, Italy, where it is night apparently most of the time ;)
The filmmaker does nice things, like choosing carefully what he wants to explore while just leaving shorthand clues through other aspects of the film. The straight man's obsession with Princesa after his initial rejection has the barest of outlines..While the effects of hormone treatments on mood are carefully explained and illustrated.
Princesa is a film on several levels, delineating ostracism and alienation in a world that just doesn't care. To the planet Princesa is just a variety of species, to Milan she is a denizen of a dark corner of their dark city, tolerated and corralled. To us she is a mystery..a standout beauty in a bevy of over the top glam trannys.
She has a goal, she has the plan to achieve that goal, and her singleminded approach finally delivers..or so she thought. This film is, in part, about that arc. There are many layers here though, the Cinderella tale just the surface, and more subtle truths reveal themselves in the background.
While doing research for the review I was shocked to discover that life went on for the real life Fernando that helped with the script, and turned for the worse. The suicide of the disenfranchised is a common occurrence, made real by this movie allowing a glimpse of what drives some to the edge.