This looks interesting, and apparently it's kicking off a 13-film Festival of New Cinema from Spain (June 19-29). However, June 19 is a Thursday, which means I'm previously committed. Ooh, it's showing Saturday, June 28, 2008, at 7:20 pm, too -- though Gary's retirement party is that day at 4pm.
Argentinian CinemaI've seen the trailer many times, plus the poster, but it was only in watching the opening credits of the film that it registered that the "Y" is formed by repeating the "X" but breaking off one piece of it.
XXY [IMDb] Huh, it's based on a short story: "Cinismo" by Sergio Bizzio
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
XXY by Lucia Puenzo (Argentina, 2007, 91 min.). Alex is a fifteen-year-old struggling to keep a dark secret. Soon after her birth, her parents decide to leave Buenos Aires to settle in isolation in the dunes of the Uruguayan shoreline. When friends from Buenos Aires visit with their sixteen-year-old son, Álvaro, the inevitable attraction between the teenagers forces them all to face their worst fears. As rumors spread around town, people's fascination with Alex may become dangerous. "XXY [is] a study of teen angst that's grounded in more than simply nebulous emotion...its sensitive treatment of an equally sensitive theme elevates it into something memorable" (Variety). Spanish with English subtitles.
Co-presented by CineMental and Truth Serum Productions.
The first spoken word of the film is "female" (Alex's father is dissecting a turtle -- he's a biologist). I totally didn't recognize the word, though ("hembra").
My Spanish is so poor. There were bits and pieces where I could actually understand what was being said and even notice subtle things -- like Kraken (Alex's dad) goes to see the ftm whom he has newspaper clippings about, and he asks him about his "cambio," which the subtitles translate as "transformation" -- but most of the time I would have been lost without the subtitles.
I don't really know how to go about talking this film because everything ties in to everything else.
Alex is an interesting character. She's very blunt and forthright ("I've never fucked anybody. Would you like to?"), but also really vulnerable.
She refers to Álvaro's dad's work as "butchering" (he's a plastic surgeon).
Álvaro is lying on the beach, and Alex comes over and asks, "What is it?"
He's drawing a bug, and he says it's an endangered species and as she gets closer he cries, "No le toces!"
After a bit, she crushes it with her thumb. He looks aghast (as does the audience), and she says, "What do you know about the species in my house!"
I loved that Vando adjusted her shirt to cover her exposed breast -- was less happy about his insistence on hugging her to comfort her
When Álvaro is leaving, Alex asks him: "What do you regret most? Not seeing me again or that you didn't get to see it?"
And he doesn't answer.
She has just recently been so violated by that posse of guys, and here she exposes herself to him, almost repeating the violation, doing it to herself.
The shower scene with the girl... I was struck by the fact that the girl must have registered that Alex didn't have regular girl parts (or at least had other stuff as well) but seemed completely unfazed.
I wondered if they were going to kiss -- though the girl was vocally established as having really enjoyed sex with a boy -- and I wondered if Alex left because she wanted to kiss the girl and knew that wouldn't go over well or if she left because she felt uncomfortable being exposed in her nakedness with someone else.
When they're in the woods and Alex explains that she has both (sets of genitals), Álvaro asks, "Do you like guys or girls?" which of course is the question many of us had been wondering, and I was kind of expecting her to just refuse to answer, but she says, "I don't know."
She says near the end of the film that she had fallen for Álvaro, which I didn't see exactly, but whatever, she's 15.
She says (to her father, iirc), "If I'm so special, why can't I talk about it?"
ftm: "To make her afraid of her own body is the worst thing you can do to a child."
I love how much her father loves her.
And near the end, when he attacks the boys who attacked Alex, he says, "Stay away from my son."
Alex says she's tired of change (changing schools, etc.), though that seems a little weird because she must know that if she goes off the corticoid her body is going to seriously change (she tells Álvaro it keeps her from growing a beard). But maybe that's what she wants.
She wakes up and sees her father sitting in a chair in her room and asks, "What are you doing?"
Kraken: "Looking after you."
Alex: "You can't look after me forever."
Kraken: "Until you can choose."
Alex: "Choose what?"
Kraken: "Whatever you want."
Álvaro -- recalling Alex's question about whether he like his parents -- asks his father if he likes him. And again, just as he said, "They're my parents," his father says, "You're my son."
Álvaro: "Let's cut the crap and talk seriously."
Álvaro's dad: "Mas o menos." [Kind of.]
I was kind of liking Álvaro's dad (Ramiro?), and yeah Álvaro was like near tears at his father flatly stating that he is and will remain talentless, but I mean, he did ask for it.
"Do you like Alex?" Álvaro doesn't answer. "Finally some good news. I was afraid you were a fag."
Yeah, of course I hated the dad for that.
When they're getting it on, Álvaro puts his hands on her breasts and she says, "I don't have anything," and he says, "I like it," and I wondered if he was kind of gay. When they're in the woods later she apologizes for what she did to him and he says no he liked it, and again I wondered if maybe he was somewhat gay (not that I think you need to be attracted to males to enjoy anal penetration), but then he's like, "Let's finish," and I'm like, "Oh you just wanna fuck her. Lame!" And she of course runs off at that point.
Early in the film, Álvaro says he's a vegetarian and says, "I don't like trying anything new," which is ironic since you know from the trailer that he's gonna get it on with Alex, with him on his stomach and her on top.