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MR. ANGEL (Dan Hunt). 68 minutes. Sunday (May 26), 9:15 pm, TIFF 2.
INSIDE OUT: TORONTO LGBT FILM FESTIVAL at TIFF Bell Lightbox from today (Thursday, May 23) to June 2. $6-$13, galas $17-$30. See Indie & Rep Film. insideout.ca. Rating: NNNN
The bald, bearded and brawny female-to-male transsexual Buck Angel is best known for his porn work, where he broke ground as “the man with a pussy.” (He never had bottom surgery after he transitioned.) But that’s just part of his story, as Dan Hunt reveals in his artful, absorbing documentary.
Through archival photos and home movies, plus interviews spread out over seven years, Hunt touches on all aspects of Angel’s transformative journey, from his early life as a girl, promising high school career as a runner, suicide attempts and brief career as a female fashion model.
Angel is candid and honest, whether he’s allowing cameras to capture his breast removal operation or discussing gender and sexuality with Ivy League students. His relationship with his spouse, professional piercer Elayne Angel, is full of love, and he’s become a role model for others via his Trans Men Project.
The heart of the film, though, is the interviews with his family, especially his father, who was abusive and stubborn when Angel was growing up but breaks down in a moment of humour and self-examination.