Monica and the others

One of the strong topics of Venezia 79 is identity, also addressed in its fluid dimensions and transitions. International Critic’s Week has told to have a vital queer spirit, and as a matter of fact, the independent section led by Beatrice Fiorentino opened with two movies that put at the centre of storytelling and the screen drag queens with their magnificent and sometimes painful presence. The French Movie Trois nuits par semaine by Florent Gouëlou is set in the nightclubs of Paris where the straight aspiring photographer Baptiste falls in love with drag Cookie Kunty, unveiling a different kind of way of living and relationship. The short film Pinned into a dress directed by Guillaume Thomas and Gianluca Matarrese follows the high-stake splendour of Miss Fame, an iconic and much-requested supermodel who forces her body in very tight corsets to shape her body homogeneous with the fashion business, hiding male attributes in search of a perfection that is almost torture.

Today is the day of Monica, the film directed by Andrea Pallaoro, one of the five Italian running for Golden Lion, already having a strong word of mouth because of her protagonist Trace Lysette, the first transgender in competition in Venice. She will run for Coppa Volpi (actually in 2017 there was Daniela Vega, the protagonist of Una mujer fantástica by Sebastián Lelio). Pallaoro describes it as a movie about the identity of each of us challenged by the transformation of body and soul, the need to deal with the wounds of the past and frayed family ties overcoming gender issues.

Ha debuttato alle nell’ambito delle Giornate degli Autori, Roberta Torre’s Le favolose premiered in  Notti veneziane. It’s a film that melts documentary and fiction. The movie starts from the erasure of the identity suffered by many transgender people after their death – when families decide to dress them in male clothes and write on the gravestone their male name – and then gives space to the variegated storytelling of a group of them. The movie drives the audience to the inner feelings of these old friends, headed by activists Porpora Marcasciano and Nicole De Leo. Le favolose starts with a festive scene in a bathing suit, but the movie does not hide the torment that is part of the lives of these women forced to compromises and sacrifices, often subjected to abuses and harassment, but above all not actually recognized, or better, disclaimed as ghosts. True liberation goes through imagination: the strength of cinema is finding the word to say, paraphrasing the title of a classic of female literature by Marie Cardinal. Cinema is able to recover the erased memory and connect with the afterlife. The next step has been made by Roberta Torre, who chose Nicole De Leo for the role of the mother, without adjectives or variations, in her new feature Mi fanno male i capelli.

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