TRANSPARENT (Jules Rosskam, U.S). 61 minutes. Monday (May 22), 3 pm. NFB. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Though he starts with a fascinating topic - female-to-male transsexuals who've given birth and/or are raising kids - filmmaker Jules Rosskam fumbles in his execution of this draggy documentary.
He interviews 19 trans-identified, women-born men about being parents, and while his diverse subjects share a number of interesting, complicated anecdotes, Transparent still adheres to leaden, binary archetypes ("I had a women's body but the heart of a man") for about 40 of its 61 minutes before really challenging gendered norms.
There are too many characters to feel a real connection to any of them, especially since Rosskam fails to provide sufficient context in their personal lives (why not interview FTM "Papa" Ricky 's MTF partner?). Worse, the linear structure is only occasionally broken up by gratuitous car-window-shot landscapes and confusing arty footage that makes you wonder whether you're watching the characters in their former lives or just generic home video clips.