In Paris, the thirty-two years old travesty Stéphanie a.k.a. Pierre is a streetwalker that lives with the Egyptian gay hustler Djamel and the Russian gay Mikhail that works in a restaurant. When the hospital where her mother Liliane is terminal calls her, she travels with her two lovers to the countryside to look after her dying mother. While at home, she recalls her childhood and how she met Djamel and Mikhail. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Compassionate observation that goes beyond gender and race
It was clear with "Come Undone" that Sebastian Lifshitz is a director very much worth watching. "Wild Side", despite its shortcomings, reaffirms his rare talents. His forte is in creating pensive, moody pieces, with a powerful and moving realism. This he does with great precision utilizing light and camera with far greater care than we have become used to. There is a sense of an artist at work. Added to this, he has an astonishing gift for evoking extremely moving and convincing performances from his actors.
The problem with "Wild Side" is that it is devoid of plot and has almost no character development. The mood is what keeps the viewer captivated. While this in itself is not unrewarding, a stronger storyline would certainly have added much. The film terminates suddenly and unexpectedly, usually signifying a lack of inner logic. It could have ended at any point with the same result.
The disparate trio of transsexual, bisexual hustler and Russian immigrant is observed in a totally non judgemental manner and with genuine compassion. This is the films true strength. While flashbacks furnish very sparse information about the transsexual's childhood, almost nothing of the remaining protagonist's backgrounds is revealed. Lifshtz's aim is not to try to understand these social outcasts and their aberrant behaviours but rather to connect us with them on a human level that goes beyond definition of gender are race.
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