Road movie theme takes transsexual turn

7th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

DEAUVILLE, France, Sept 7 (AFP) - The road movie, that archetypical tale of external and internal discovery, took a turn into different territory at the Deauville Festival of American Film with a film about a transsexual's journey with his/her son.

DEAUVILLE, France, Sept 7 (AFP) - The road movie, that archetypical tale of external and internal discovery, took a turn into different territory at the Deauville Festival of American Film with a film about a transsexual's journey with his/her son.

'Transamerica', presented Tuesday, tells the story of Bree, a woman who was once a man, forced to care for a teenage son she didn't know she had just days before a life-changing operation that would amputate not only an unwanted male appendage but also her past identity.

The voyage overland from New York to Los Angeles with the boy reveals that her alienation is not unique, and her son -- a drugged-up male prostitute -- is as desperate as she to belong somewhere, with someone.

Director Duncan Tucker explained that, though the style and landscapes were quintessentially American, his "hero" and inspiration, French cineaste Jean Renoir, was "in my heart as I was making this movie".

The result has been a success, with Disney subsidiary Miramax snapping up the finished feature, which was made on a small budget with money "begged, borrowed and stolen from friends and relatives", he said.

Felicity Huffman, best known for her role in the hit US television series 'Desperate Housewives', plays the transgendered lead role convincingly.

For Tucker, using a man in a frock was out of the question. A woman, he said was both "more honest" to the character he wrote and, as he learnt from his research, virtually indistinct from an operated transsexual.

The movie appeared to be part of a trend running through the festival, held each year in this chic Normandy seaside town.

Other features travelling the same path included 'Elizabethtown', about a failed sports shoe designer who finds love at the end of a long trip in the Deep South, and 'Broken Flowers', a comedy in which Bill Murray visits ex-girlfriends to find the mother of a son he may have fathered.

For Tucker, the technique serves to show both the variety of the United States -- and the unifying bonds among its people.

"America is so huge and ethnically diverse and polarised right now, you just have to go on the road to show it," he said.

But at the end of films like his, audiences, he said, will realise that "there's just one place that's America".

Unlike the other road movies at the festival, 'Transamerica' is vying with nine other features for the event's top prize, to be handed out on Sunday.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

 

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