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
Unfinished script? Badly lit? Underdeveloped characters? Designed to shock the bourgeoisie? About half the reviewers here seem to have missed the point with this film - but perhaps it's just a film you'll either love or hate. There are of course many people who simply are not comfortable watching anything which in any way portrays or explores homosexuality.
Not that you would class this as a gay film - but it is definitely one of the best queer films I have seen. Dealing with three characters on the margins of society, it has a no holds barred approach to its subject matter, that is neither glamorous nor judgmental. In contrast to most representations of homo/transexuality this was refreshing.
The sexuality/gender of the central character, Stephanie, was apparent from the first frames of the film. The triangular relationship between her and the two men is one built on sincere and simple respect and equality. There is no question in the film of her having to choose between the two. All three are equally compatible with each other and do not have the usual conventional jealousies and arguments.
The three characters' past and present lives are beautifully portrayed in a sort of collage. This demands some work from the audience to put the pieces together. And why not? There is nothing obscure or pretentious here. Just an honest look at what brought these three people together.
Visually the film ranks highly and is up there with Antonioni and Bresson. The concentration on the urban and rural landscapes and the details of the characters' physical actions say more about character development than any dialogue could do.
A milestone in new queer cinema. This film should receive a far wider distribution. But judging from others' comments perhaps the public are just not yet ready to understand the humility, beauty and sacrifice of in these characters' lives. A great film 10/10
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