6.7/10
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7 user 20 critic

Mala Mala (2014)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography, Drama | 1 July 2015 (USA)
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A documentary about the power of transformation told through the eyes of 9 trans-identifying individuals in Puerto Rico.

Writers:

Antonio Santini (story), Dan Sickles (story)
10 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jason Carrión ... Himself (as April Carrion)
Samantha Close ... Herself
Ivana Fred Ivana Fred ... Herself
Queen Bee Ho Queen Bee Ho ... Herself
Paxx Moll Paxx Moll ... Themself
Alberic Prados Alberic Prados ... Zahara Montiere
Denise 'Sandy' Rivera Denise 'Sandy' Rivera ... Herself
Soraya Santiango Solla ... Herself
Sophia Voines Sophia Voines ... Herself
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Storyline

A documentary about the power of transformation told through the eyes of 9 trans-identifying individuals in Puerto Rico.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A transformative documentary


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Puerto Rico | USA

Language:

Spanish | English

Release Date:

1 July 2015 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Puerto Rico

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,569, 5 July 2015

Gross USA:

$10,761

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,761
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Sophia Voines: Life is empty and meaningless - and that it's empty and meaningless... is meaningless; and empty.
[laughs]
Sophia Voines: So, in that space what's left is possibility. You get to create possibility. And in that possibility you get to choose who you wanna be. And be; how do you be? You be by your word. Life is created though language and through language you get to be who you say you're going to be. So, say who your going to be, and then be it!
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User Reviews

 
Beautiful, heartfelt look at the drag & trans-gender cultures in Puerto Rico
19 September 2015 | by vogler10See all my reviews

Comparing Mala Mala to Paris is Burning does a disservice to Mala Mala. This film presents an exploration of the many forms of gender expression: from those who wear it only on the surface to those who truly believe that they were assigned a different gender at birth. One of the subjects says it best when she says that some of the "trans-gender" girls actually want to be "beauty queens" and not real women because once youth fades and they can no longer be beauty queens, they are no longer interested in being women.

Mala Mala presents a complete gradient of the understanding of gender expression with subjects from different backgrounds, social classes, and different ways of verbalizing just what it means to be trans-gender in Puerto Rico in the 2010s. The film conflates drag and trans-gender cultures because in Puerto Rico they are not separate in the same way the are in the United States and other western countries. The filmmakers are very much aware that some subjects are only playing women whereas others are being women.

Ultimately the true heart of Mala Mala lies in the back-stories of the women in the film. At the end of the film, Ivana says that the way they can effect real change in society by pushing for a non-discrimination law in PR is not through legalese and statistics but through their own stories and their own struggles. This film delves into those stories precisely. This isn't a social philosophy think-piece that was concocted by people who've taken many critical gender studies classes at a university. Rather, it looks at subjects whose lives and backgrounds more than compensate for the limited vocabulary they have to make sense of who they are and what they do. This is a compelling film more interested in the "how" than in the "what".


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