Saturday, 16 February 2008

GFF Review: XXY by Carmody Wilson

Director: Lucia Puenzo
Screenplay: Lucia Puenzo
Runtime: 91 minutes
Spanish with subtitles
Screening: CCA 19 February, 8:30

XXY is a thoughtful, open-ended film bringing a whole lot of big issues to the table, not least among them the central issues of hermaphrodites and teenage sexual awakenings. Any teenager faced with his/her first sexual attraction has problems to work out, but Alex has more conflicts to deal with than most, as she has been born a hermaphrodite, raised as a girl, and faced with a big decision as to which gender she will adopt. Enter surgeon Ramiro, his wife, and their son Alvaro, who come to stay with Alex’s family as the decision looms. Ines Efron is fearsome and fragile as Alex, a girl of almost feral inclinations, who as her body and heart’s desire go into dangerous places, flings herself farther into the wilderness of forests and the sea. An unexpected and confusing encounter with Alvaro brings both teenagers more questions than it answers, a situation unhelped by the brooding, uncommunicative stance that each teenager’s parents’ are taking. There’s nothing big about this film, as director Lucia Puenzo, in her debut as director, treats the subject matter as the family does, as a private matter, and the result is an intimate, sad, and contemplative story very well performed.

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