Forbidden Love (1977)
José Maria is a seventeen year old boy; his father is a successful restaurant owner in a town some distance from Barcelona, in Spain. The boy is intelligent and sensitive, but his mannerisms and habits, and lack of masculine drive, lead him to get bullied at school. The school principal decides that José is the disruptive influence, and asks for him to be removed from the school. The father berates the boy, and his mother, for his failure to be a red-blooded young man, and sends him away for a while to live with a friend in the country. Father visits the boy, and takes him to a strip club in Barcelona, run by a lady friend of his, intending that this will "cure" him of his sexual reserve. However one of the acts is a pre-operative transsexual, and there is a full frontal exposure at the end. [The transsexual is Bibí Andersen, in her first big screen wole; she went on to play is several of Pedro Almodovar's films.] Father has arranged that after the show, the lady friend will take José back to her place for sex. José evidently has no idea what is going on; "Everything will be all right: you'll see", she says. José doesn't look very sure of that, and in fact refuses to co-operate. Father is furious and threatens José with violence if, in a repeat visit in a month's time, José "fails" him again. José takes some clothes belonging to the lady of the house where he is staying, and dressed as a girl he leaves and goes to Barcelona. Dressed as a girl, José gets picked up by a man, Álvaro, who finds him a room to stay in. But José changes back into male clothes before actually seeing the owner of the house, and when Álvaro calls back later, to see Maria, the lady says there is no-one of that name there. For the time being, José stays in male mode so far as the rest of the world is concerned. Later, José buys a newspaper and sees that his Father has put a description and photograph in an announcement, and José sends a latter home saying that he is safe. He successfully gets a job in a hair stylist's, and soon his sister arrives to see him. Everything is bad at home, but the sister is sympathetic. The go out for a milk shake, and José goes to the lavatory, and, without giving his sister any warning, comes back in female mode, to her amazement. Nonetheless they go to a dance club together, as two girls, and indulge in some flirting. Afterwards back at José's room, sister asks how José feels when dancing with a guy. "Well, I suppose I feel the same way you do.". Sister (looking confused): "Oh, but that's impossible ... you're not a woman!" Back at the hair stylist's, Bibí Andersen comes in as a customer, and José is told to look after her. In case we have forgotten, a colleague comes up and tells José who she is ... "They say she's a man." Back at the digs, José overhears the landlady and her manfriend going for a day at the beach. José takes the opportunity to dress in some feminine clothes, but inevitably the people come back unexpectedly. The manfriend is appalled but the landlady is entirely sympathetic and goes to great lengths to let José know that they are going out again and won't be back until late. José, as Maria, goes to the dance club and a previous admirer is there. They dance, and both parties enjoy it, but apparently they don't go on to anywhere afterwards. The next day in the hair salon, José asks Bibí Andersen for advice about seeing the man again, and she advises against it, without really explaining why. So Maria sees him anyway; they go to have sex, although Maria says she doesn't know what to do. We have to infer how it turned out, and back at the digs, she goes to the bathroom, and takes an open razor, and has a go at removing her unwanted appendages. Despite a visit in hospital by Bibí José decides to abandon the independent life in Barcelona and returns home. However Father is still very hostile, and José soon is back in Barcelona. Luckily the landlady still has a room free, and welcomes José and gives her some old clothes and helps on other ways. From now on, José is Maria all the time. Maria hasn't got a job now, but when she goes to see Bibí she gets a job at the club as a waitress. Bibí explains that she has had a sex change operation since they last met, and shows Maria the results. Matria is impressed, even though Bibí explains that "showing her dick" was enough before, but now they tell her she has to learn how to dance. After an impromptu dance at the club with Bibí, the club owner is clearly impressed with Maria and offers her stardom if she will train herself to "turn into a woman". With a lot of help in grooming and dancing, she achieves success on the stage, and the club owner finds her attractive enough to risk a relatively chaste kiss, which Bibí observes, provoking a scene. Nonetheless things develop between them, and he wants her to be his wife, and to have the necessary operation. Will they live happily ever after ... ?- Written by Hazel Freeman
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