Pulse: MTF Body Swap Movie

Pulse | FilmInk
Olly, foreground, decides to become a girl.

If you crave a body swap movie that avoids the usual cliches of the genre, Pulse may just be the film for you. How is it different? Let me list some of the ways.

First, Olly, the protagonist is NOT some sexist or callous male who needs to walk a mile in her heels to learn some life lessons. In fact, Olly is a gay, disabled teen age boy. He long for a new body in part to escape his disability, and he thinks becoming a girl will allow for him to have a relationship with a straight boy he is in love with and has been for years.

Other than one scene where Olly is amazed to have BOOBS! The film otherwise plays dark and dramatic. The creators choose to have many scenes after Olly gets his new body where they cut back and forth between how he looks to the world– a young blonde– and his “inner self.” This worked for me in the sense that in many of these movies I feel it is easy to forget the “guy” inside. In Pulse, we are constantly reminded, and without giving away too much it also speaks to what ultimately becomes the theme of the film.

Olly has a very supportive group of friends. They embrace his choice, and the only concerns they raise relate to the intolerance of people and how he needs to be careful. Olly’s mom is okay with it as well, though her own drinking problems and absentee motherhood have as much to do with it as her willingness to support her son’s choices. Still, Olly then proceeds to engage in a lot of alcohol related behaviors some young people stumble into, and we get a kind of coming of age story within the gender swap.

I thought the acting was great, and I liked the style of the show, which is currently streaming in the US on the HERE network. I do recommend, but now I must address the ISSUES. Stop here if you do not want to get into the politics.

_______________________________________ Politics and some spoilers————————————

The concerns I have seen raised about this film are numerous. First, there are concerns about how it could be seen as making trans look like a choice. The creators state that the movie in their view has nothing to do with the trans experience and was not in any way to suggest trans people just choose to be trans. In this day and age, every gender swap movie is examined in terms of how it can impact the trans community, which is very important given the reality of the dangers posed by intolerance, ignorance and hate.

Another concern raised is that if re-enforces an assumption made by some cis people that gay men want to be women. I feel what this movie explores more specifically, and the writer has stated it was inspired by his own experiences growing up and exploring his sexual identity, is a much more common fantasy. That is, seeing someone who is attracted to the opposite sex and kind of wishing that you were that sex, so they could love you. It is not a fantasy that is really rooted in that feeling of being in the wrong body, but a kind of fantasy. The same thing can happen in terms of our types– the nerdy girl who wishes she was a cheerleader so the quarterback would like her, or a dorky guy who wishes he was the quarterback.

Some young people even do change to become what they feel others want them to be, a strategy that usually leads to unhappiness and regret.

Lastly, of course, is the portrayal of the notion that his disability is something to be escaped. We live in an amazing and awesome era where differently-abled people have embraced and thrived. So, here’s the thing and where we get to the spoiler. Olly ends up going back to being a boy. He finds out that becoming someone else does not solve all his problems. He learns that being a disabled gay man is who he is, and all he needs to be.

That, to me, is a positive message.

Another Spooky Gender Swap

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The Books of Blood - Volume 5

Many years ago now, a new horror writer emerged on the scene by the name of Clive Barker. He was heralded by, among others, then reigning master of horror, Stephen King, who wrote, “I have seen the future of horror, and he is Clive Barker.”

One of his early works, appearing in Volume V of the Books of Blood series, featured a man who wants to restore an abandoned pool facility. When he and a local mobster he hopes to partner with visit the pools, they are surprised to find a gaggle of naked teen-age girls who flee from them. Both men are– intrigued. The man goes back later, to find a strange pool in the middle, which he swims in only to find himself later transformed into a woman. His girlfriend is not into it.

More interesting to me was the mobster, a man’s man type who loved to surround himself with beautiful women. We learn that he believes himself a ladies man, and a man who loves women– the sounds of their voices, their bodies… he does not take it so well when he finds breasts blossoming on his chest as he begins to transform into one of those ladies he professes to love so much.

I’ve probably given away too much already. It’s a surreal, trippy story from the man who brought us Hellraiser. Check it out on Amazin. There is also a comic book adaption in issue #4 of Tapping the Vein.

The Madonna

Status Change Review!

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As many of you are likely aware, prolific TG video producer and director RDF James has been working on a new Black Mirror-esque series of TG videos, the first of which, Staus Change, has dropped.

It’s a short film, 21 minutes, and I don’t want to give away any plot points, but I will say the film features some fun, classic TG moments. The actress who plays the young woman who gets swapped invests fully in her dual roles , and as is always a bonus for me, she is really hot. As it is the first in a series, some time is spent establishing the world and setting up future episodes, so be patient for some exposition, but all in all this is a fun and entertaining first episode with lots of promising content.

I would have liked to see more scenes of the guy dealing with being a woman, but there is some nice stuff with that, and a nice ironic reversal “money scene” where we get a taste of what his life is like after the swap. I recommend,

As an added bonus, look for some cameos from performers you may recognize from previous RDF James productions!

Links below, and please consider supporting your TG content creator!

Status Change on Amazon

RDF Patreon Page

My Wife and I: Body Swap with Heart!

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Link to Film

Don’t have Prime?  Try it FREE for 30 days!

Now FREE on Amazon Prime, a new body swap comedy with well-developed characters who delve deep into their relationship issues via a magical body swap. Now, to get right into the TG elements we all love so much– yes, the man in his wife’s body has to experience the things that women go through– make-up, heels, hosting a bachelorette party– and much of this is played as broad comedy. It is fun, and the actors do a great job embodying their roles!

Where the film goes deeper than most broad comedy body swap comedies is in the exploring of the relationships not only between the husband and wife, but their two teen-age children as well. The relationship between the married couple is terrible as the film starts and heading toward divorce, but it isn’t the same old same old. The wife, a successful executive, resents her husband for embracing what she sees as a career of mediocrity while also being the “fun” parent the kids like. She meanwhile is stuck being the major bread winner and the tough Mom. The father, meanwhile, questions whether his wife even loves him and, true to male type, is not a good listener. When they argue, which they do a LOT and LOUD, we see how it impacts their kids. and it is not good.

As they experience life in each other’s bodies, they start to learn about each other, coming to understand not just their partner, but they also learn things about themselves. All of this unfolds gradually and artfully throughout the movie. Again, super well-acted and very moving in certain scenes.

Oh, and back to the TG elements, we do get to see the guy gradually accepting a female role learning to do make-up, helping his daughter deal with feminine issues, and even, spoiler alert– deciding to see what it’s like in the sack! I won’t tell you how that turns out, but this is a good movie worth watching! Oh, and just a as bonus, once he starts getting used to dresses, heels and make-up, the guy is super hot!

Check it out!

If you don’t have Prime, get it for FREE for 30 days!

New Body Theft Movie: The Lifechanger

Lifechanger

Lifechanger on Amazon

Drew survives by stealing other people’s bodies.  He absorbs their essence, leaving them as lifeless husks, while he comes to not only look like them, but to absorb their memories and experiences.

The writer/director Justin McConnell does not lack ambition, producing a script and a movie that explores what such a life would do to a person, and how they would need to function to survive.  I applaud the effort, especially the shots the creator takes to use the premise to examine the human condition, culminating in a poetic monologue by the main character at the end of the film, about which I will say nothing so as to avoid spoilers.

Now, as for the gender bender elements, which I will confess largely fuels my interest in these types of films, there isn’t much to savor.  Mostly this results from the fact that the we enter this character’s story after he has been jumping from body to body for decades; he’s been women many times, so when he jumps into female bodies it’s just old hat for him.  Had this been a first, some scenes might have popped more for me as a viewer who loves seeing gender roles reversed; for example, he gets hit on by a guy at a bar, but it isn’t the first time for him, so the usual fun of seeing a guy have to deal with being treated like a girl is blunted.  The scenes reads like any girl getting hit on by any random guy.

As per my comments above, just as a movie looking to say somethings about life, it’s watchable with excellent performances from the cast and professional if workmanlike camera work and production.  It’s getting some buzz on the sci/fi circuit, and has found an audience, so worth checking out, but if you are seeking a deeper look at the gender issues you will probably leave feeling unsatisfied. If you just want to experience an interesting and thought provoking film, it’s an absolute yes.

Lifechanger on Amazon

Link to Interview with Director

Thanks for reading, and look for a preview of Your Memory Mine 2 as well as a giveaway later this week! Rock on, people!

The Wild Boys: DVD Now Available!

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Buy the North American Blue Ray HERE!

Though I feel few share my fascination and admiration of The Wild Boys, I nevertheless decided to post up my review of the DVD, in which I will discuss in greater depth why I love this movie, as well as the Bonus Features.

To start with my love of the movie, let me express my admiration for the film making itself, which comes from what some, including the director, call the “Incoherents” movement.  Simply, this means the director does not concern himself with creating a false sense of unity and realism such as a viewer would find a mainstream Hollywood film.

So,  in TWB, sometimes the movie looks like an old-fashioned sea adventure, sometimes like a period drama, sometimes like dream.  In fact, to my mind, the result creates for the reader an experience much like a dream– with the  use of compression and symbolism, for example, inviting a series of sub-conscious reactions.   All of this works very well with the material, which explores mutability, metamorphosis, boys turning into girls, men into women.

As with the camera, the director does not ask the actors to play everything in a naturalistic way, which in any case he rejects as just another technique.  Sometimes the actors do seem to deliver their lines “California Style” but often, working with the camera, lines are infused with gravity, characters look off in dramatic ways or turn their heads for effect.  Within that context, the actors in this film, and particularly the young women who play the boys, I find all of their performances compelling.  The young women embody young masculinity, with the mannerisms and voices feeling right– not caricature  or camp, but like boys.  Similarly, they commit totally to surreal scenes, such as when a bout of boyish rough housing beneath falling feathers turns erotic just as they stand on the cusp of their new, female bodies.

So, innovative directing that matches the themes and subject matter, plus epic performances, and that’s a great film.  But, of course, I have a particular affinity for work that explores gender, and this one does it in ways that most such movies never have the nerve to explore.

Some of favorite moments resonate either because they blow past previous limitations, or else they celebrate what seem to me “classic” TG moments.  For example, there is a scene where one of the boys, still identifying totally as a boy, is startled and screams in a “feminine” manner, then discovers he now sounds like a girl when he talks.  The “voice change” had always been one of my favorite tropes, and so it was very fun to see this played out, with the boy clutching his throat, clearly embarrassed, and the others, not realizing they will share his fate, mocking him and calling him “girly.”

Another trope I enjoy the movie explores is that they boys develop breasts before they become biologically female, so we see a couple of them struggling with the shame of having breasts, the insecurity and ways it challenges their sense of identity.

Finally, the role-reversal and feminizing– or at least the forcing of the boys into feminine roles and situations, begins long before their physical change.  The Captain sexually harasses one of them at one point, while they also are forced to walk through a field full of “groping” plants.  And, of course, there is the phallic tree and its white juice they must drink to survive, as well as a suggestive fruit they are forced to eat.  So, while some may struggle waiting for the physical changes to occur, there is plenty to see in terms of gender before they even get to the biological morphing.  After the morphing, this film gets much more naked than most, so the reality of the new bodies is right there on the screen.

For viewers interested in seeing how characters adjust to their change, this film does not offer a lot.  After initially shocked and embarrassed reactions, including some morning for their lost phalluses, the characters seem to accept their new genders readily.  In addition, they seem largely unchanged, simply becomes female versions of themselves, with the same attitudes and values as before, something which I find interesting, but might not satisfy all viewers.

Bonus Features

Not much.  Of the deleted scenes, I did find two very worthwhile:  First, as he has first turned fully into a female, one of the boys is crying, staring at himself in the mirror.  A character known as The Doctor walks over and pulls his shirt open, so he now must confront the sight of his breasts.   In the second, a group of sailors comes to the island, and we see the boys– now all female–  moving in feminine, erotic poses, luring the men to their doom like sirens.

The others were well deleted.  In addition, the Behind the Scenes, while interesting, was a disappointment– and probably meant to be.  I must confess that here I had hoped for something more conventional, especially interviews with the actors about what it was like to play boys, for example, how they prepared, the voices…etc…  But it is a surreal short film shot on Super 8 with the actor murmuring poetically.  It works as a short film and ads some to the experience of the film– there is a scene of the actors, all in their boy forms, having fun with fake phalluses– but it doesn’t reveal as much as I had hoped.

 

Buy the DVD!

 

New Body Swap on Netflix!

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Transfers

French creators continue to produce some great TG media, with the new 6 episode science fiction series Transfers joining the instant classic, The Wild Boys as excellent examples of what can happen in this medium.

In Transfers, we find ourselves in a familiar but futuristic France where the ability to transfer people’s essence from one body to another has been invented and promptly banned.  However, as is usually the case, the banning on transfers does not end the practice but merely drives it into the black market.

The series centers around a fairly ordinary wood worker who finds himself illegally transferred (without his permission) into the body of a cop who specializes in hunting down illegal transfers.  He feels compelled to pretend to be the cop in order to avoid being caught as an illegal transfer, and so that he can be together with his wife and children once more.

So as for body swaps, the whole series centers around a swapped person and gets into all kinds of interesting questions about identity, morality and politics.  How much of behavior is genetic?  How much personality?  Is it possible to be “you” in a new body, or do you become that person?

Now, as you all know, I am all about the gender swaps, and this show has a major gender swap in the form of a ruthless middle-aged crime lord who ends up swapped into the body of an elementary school girl.  In his case, while he remains a ruthless crime lord with a taste for cigars and whisky even as a little girl, he also seems to begin to be adapted by his body.  It’s just little moments, but we see him fussing with his hair, putting it into a pony tail, or having one of his henchman braid it for him.  He also gets girly at times, sometimes mockingly, and sometimes seemingly because his new body demands it.  So, while it isn’t a big part of the show, we do get to see some TG moments that also seem to explore the notion of how much of a person is their “mind” and how much their body.  The young actress does an impressive job embodying the “man inside” and I would say should have gotten an award for her efforts!

Aside even from the body swapping elements, the show is very watchable.  It’s a thriller, a cop show, with a plot that moves and is full of twists and turns, surprises and revelations.  The cast is first rate, working from excellent scripts, and the show looks great, with first rate cinematography and lighting.

My only complaint?  Only 6 episodes!  However, the creators have stated they want to do more seasons, and if the show does well, the season ends with several interesting little cliffhangers for a future season to build on!

Check it out!

Link for NetFlix users in the USA.

I am sorry, my international friends, but I do not know where to find it in your locales.  I do know, given it was a European production, that it should be available in the EU.  The French title is Transferts, so try searching for that term!  If you find links, please share them in comments so other fans can find this amazing show!

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Boys Now Available to Stream

The Wild Boys [Blu-ray]

Sadistic and cruel, the Wild Boys live only for art and pleasure.  Constantly in trouble for rebellious acts of defiance and disrespect, they finally take it too far when they commit a particularly heinous crime against a woman.  Enter The Captain, a cruel and lumbering Dutchmen known to be able to turn wild young men into docile persons.

As it turns out, The Captain’s method involves a great deal of abuse as well as exposing the boys to the juices of a mysterious, phallic fruit which ultimately transforms them into women.  The movie takes awhile to get to the actual transformation, which begin with the boys experiencing haunting, erotic dreams, progresses to them becoming infatuated with each other and then rapidly moves through their voices changing to girl’s voices, the blossoming of breasts and then ultimately the loss of their manhood.  There is nudity.

It’s a surreal, arty French film with a lot of Freudian imagery, but moves along well and uses the dream-like qualities of the production to great advantage. The boys are all played by young women, who are extremely good at portraying young men, and then equally fascinating in their female forms. The performances stand out as each is a skilled and professional actor, and the direction and cinematography are first rate as well.

There is a little strain of Femdom in the film as well, as the mysterious Severin, who runs the islands, explains that she has a plan to feminize the world as she feels it will be a more peaceful and harmonious place– a theory which the movie seems to refute.

It’s a worthy watch and one I will look over again.  My only regret is we never get to see them back in civilization living as women, but then again, maybe there will be a sequel?

You can find all the links on Amazon to stream or buy!

Stream IT! (NOW!)

Buy IT! (You Can Pre-Order.  Available 12/11)

The Wild Boys– Right out of Fictionmania!

(The director with the “Wild Boys” at premiere.)

A group of arrogant boys commits a terrible crime.  As punishment, they are sent to a mysterious island where they are transformed into girls.  It may sound like the plot of an old school TG story, but it is actually the plot of a new TG film from director Bertrand Mandico.

See Trailer

One of the excellent decisions the director made was to cast female actors to play the boys before, during and after transition.  The reviews I read have lauded these performers, and based on the trailer they did very well.  The film has the look and feel of a fever dream, the images taken directly from the seething cauldron of the unconscious.  There are screening dates set across the US for this summer and fall, and you can find them as well as links to buy tickets HERE

For non-US or if you live too far away from those locations, it is going to be streaming on a service called Mubi, and, of course, you can check European and French distributers for details.

I will report back when I have seen the film!