Dead Man Tells His Own Tale (Spoilers)

Looking for some femdom in your life? If so, check out Dead Man Tells His Own Tale, now streaming on Amazon (free for Amazon Prime members). Diego Gentile stars in the film as a director who is a classic sexist pig. He cheats on his wife, lies to actresses to get them to sleep with him, objectifies women at every turn. He is not portrayed as comic book villain evil, however. Despite his willingness to exploit women, he is a loving father to his daughter. Nor does he seem malicious toward the women in his life– his wife, his mistresses. He simply feels he in entitled to do as he pleases.

Of course, his lack of awareness does not make what he does okay. What’s to be done, though, right? He is who he is.

Enter a group of female vampires. Gentile finds himself at an all-female bar, where the women are aggressive, contemptuous of him. At one point, he is asked, “Do you fear them because they are more powerful than you?”

He is unnerved and starts to become hysterical. Soon, he is bitten, and, like other men, is turned into the zombie slave of the vampire women. If that sounds campy, it is. The film revels in its campiness, but unlike many such films celebrates it all within first class production values. There are interesting manifestations of the dominance of the women in Gentile’s new life. He wears a scarf all the time to hide the fact he has been marked, and at one points says, “I don’t want anyone to see me like this.” He can no longer objectify women, and even finds it impossible to say certain words.

We see some of their other victims. One has been forced to get grotesque plastic surgery– cheek implants, massive plumped lips. Another is wearing make-up, dangly earrings. The men are completely powerless to the women, who we discover ultimately intended to raise of Celtic goddess from the dead and establish a matriarchy over the world.

They succeed, and we get a brief glimpse of the new world, where men cannot drive, are talked down to by women. We see Gentile, now seeming docile, his wife in charge.

For lovers of campy horror comedy with a dose of femdom, it’s a must see.

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

Your Name (spoilers)

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Based on the novel by Makoto Shinkai, Your Name finally came to my local theater after raking up over 300,000,000 dollars at box offices around the world.   The story centers around two teen-agers, a city boy and a country girl, who begin to swap bodies during the night.

The characters do not, initially, know each other, but as they spend time in each other’s bodies and living each other’s lives, they naturally start to get an understanding of each other, communicating by leaving journal entries, and their lives become intertwined as they bicker, commiserate and become inter-twined with each other’s friends and families.

What emerges is a unique and tearful love story with a bunch of plot twists and reversals that challenge the characters and make the audience suffer as we wait to see how, if ever, these characters will get together.

I found Your Name to be one of the most beautiful animated films I have ever seen, including numerous still shots that inform and fill out the world of these characters, as well as stunning scenes of natural beauty.

Despite my warning, I don’t want to reveal much of the plot of the movie.  I will say this is a film that does not spend a lot of time exploring gender.   Aside from one or two moments, especially when they first wake in bodies of the opposite sex, each character just adapts to the life of the body that they wear.   There is a fascinating story line about the girl’s town that is gradually revealed as the story progresses, and a kind of hazy magic to the proceedings, as we discover that in the girl’s town, body swapping is not all that unusual, and it is taken as a matter of course.

I loved every minute of this film, and I will be buying it on DVD to watch again and again.  It is a very moving and traditional story about love, with very non-traditional sci- fi flurishes.

Bring the tissues!

Tangerine: Spoilers

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The film Tangerine explores the lives of two transgender friends living in Los Angeles, features transgender performers in the lead roles, and explores and celebrates their lives and struggles without ever being self-consciously a statement about transgender issues.

What I mean is that this film is a film about people.   And in the same way a similar movie might have been about two friends who happened to be straight, or two friends who happened to be doctors, or any two people who happened to be other things, this one explores the lives of two people who happen to be TG, but who are not limited by that aspect of their identities, and who are neither valorized or mocked because of it.  There is no sense that the audience has any obligation to pay special attention to the fact that they are TG, or to view the film like a movie in a sociology class where the subtext is, “This is how TG people put on their shoes!”   They are people like other people, and that is among the film’s triumphs.

And what do these people want?  The same things as everyone else: they want to be valued, loved, understood, and it is their pursuit of these universal human needs to drives the drama of the film and almost brought me to tears on several occasions.

Alexandra has planned a big concert and invited all of her friends as well as everyone else in the neighborhood.  She loves to sing and hopes for a special evening sharing her love with her friends, who have all enthusiastically promised to come see her.   When she gets to the venue, not even one person has shown up, and she stands outside arguing with the manager, insisting that people are on the way, refusing to believe that not even a single person cared enough to make it to the show.  I ached for her both because she had been abandoned, and because she refused to believe she had been abandoned.  I know that feeling.   When I was a kid, the last time my mother tried to throw a birthday party for me no one came.  No one.   And I could see the pain and shame she felt as much as I felt my own.  I didn’t even realize no one liked me until I was sitting there in our dirty little house, watching my mother calling neighbors and listening to their excuses.  I know that feeling and experience is shared by many people who are not “normal.”

Finally, one person does show up, Sin-Dee, who has brought along a woman she is kidnapping–  see the movie– and Alexandra performs for her friend and the other lonely people who spend their Christmas Eves at seedy bars.

Sin-Dee is the more temperamental of the two, and her quest on this Christmas Eve has been to find the woman who has been sleeping with her boyfriend and confront them.   During this confrontation, she learns that her boyfriend has cheated on her not only with the one girl, but also with her best friend, Alexandra, whose concert she alone cared enough to see.

The second betrayal breaks her heart.   She is devastated, and she wanders off into the night to turn some tricks, looking for some way to get out of herself, to stop feeling what she is feeling, only to have a car full of frat boys throw a bottle of piss in her face.

The movie does, in scenes like the one above, show some of the abusive behavior with a transgender person might face, some of the disgusting acts that happen.  These women are as far from Kaitlin Jenner and the Victoria’s Secret fashion show as you can get, and their lives are full of hardships, not magazine covers celebrating them for their courage.

So, when Sin-Dee is horrified, despairing, broken, who comes to the rescue?  Alexandra.   She comes over and helps her friend, and the two of them at least have each other.  They are not along on Christmas Eve, and they are not defeated.   They each seem determined to keep on living, to get up and make it another day.

There is a third character searching for connection in the movie, an Armenian cab driver.  He is married and has a child, and he loves men, and particularly Sin-Dee.   The last we see of him he is alone in his living room, standing in front of a Christmas tree, with a lost and lonely look on his face as he faces maintaining his marriage, keeping up his obligations, continuing to live in the closet.  How much worse to be alone in the presence of others?  To be a stranger to yourself?

The film could, I suppose, be accused of typing transgender characters in the sense that they are sex workers.  One of the criticism of the portrayal of TG people in the past is that they tend to be criminals or prostitutes, drug addicts.

But, see the movie. It doesn’t have that feel of otherness about it.  In fact, it brings attentions to harsh realities:

Ms. Taylor (Alexandra) now finds herself in a position similar to Ms. Cox, (Orange is the New Black) as a spokeswoman for transgender people, appreciative of the increased visibility yet dismayed at the soaring rates of homicide, suicide attempts and unemployment that plague this world. “Visibility is very important, but it’s not changing the day-to-day lives of everyday trans people,” Ms. Cox said. “We need another culture shift.”

They are people.  They may be poor. They may be TG.  They may be or do a lot of things good and bad– but what we see in this movie is that they are people who just want to be loved and live their lives, and that is a wonderful thing to see.

It’s available for streaming!  Tangerine On Netflix

 

 

 

 

The Hit Girl (Spoilers)

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Status.  Much of life, and much of TG fiction, revolves around the issue of status.  Who gets to be on top and why?  How much of that is related to gender identity, and what would happen to an alpha male type if he were to find himself in a beta-girl body?

The Hit Girl playfully explores all these ideas.  The main character starts the film as a hit man, a big, burly dude who kills people without remorse, but only people who have it coming. Nevertheless, he lives in a world where he does what he wants, solves problems with violence and never feels threatened.   Then, one day while visiting his niece, who he constantly refers to as ‘shorty’ despite the fact she hates it he dismisses her complaints about life in high-school by saying, “I would love to have a teen-age girl’s problems.”

He wakes up in the morning to find himself transformed into a petite teen-age girl, and one with a body more like a middle-school girl at that.  His niece finds great pleasure in seeing him now reduced in stature, both physically and socially, as she is now both taller and stronger than him. In addition, he finds himself facing the value system that society preaches in terms of male and female value.

Early on, he challenges his niece to tell him one good thing about the fact that he is now a teen-age girl.  She shrugs and says, “You’re really pretty?”

The plot of the film then moves along Freaky Friday, Turnabout tracks.  The former man  learns all about what it means to be a girl as he gets used to wearing a bra, deals with mean girl bullies  and has to even turn himself into a sex-object, dressing up as a slutty Catholic school girl and doing some awkward pole dancing as he tries to complete his mission and rescue a kidnapped friend.

A great deal of the humor of the movie involves seeing the character forced to experience life as a female, including being pressed into wearing girl’s clothes and carry around an extremely feminine backpack.  Yet, at the same time, it seeks to ultimate invert or at least challenge the male is better biases of society as the main character increasingly finds himself getting comfortable with and even enjoying aspects of being a girl.  Of course, most pointedly, he learns to reject the idea that he is now helpless and despite his small size and lack of physical strength, he takes on the challenge of taking out the scumbag kidnapper who is planning on trafficking in young women to pay off his debts.

The character, at the end of the film at least, remains female and seems to have accepted his new life.  He gets involved in drama, living his life as Jessica, with talk of his sister adopting him and raising him as her own daughter.    Maybe someday that movie will get made.

This film hits a lot of buttons found in classic TG literature, and I feel does an interesting job exploring the challenges to identity and also the notions of status inherently tied up in gender, age and sex.  It seems to me that the story ultimately suggests that a lot of it has more to do with people’s own attitudes than with anything else.  It’s only embarrassing to be a girl because he feels that being a girl is inferior, but once he lets go of that assumption its just a life, and perhaps a better life than the one he had.  It turns out, having the problems of a teen-age girl really was just what he needed to become a better person.

His status in the eyes of the world may have diminished with his loss in stature, but his happiness is positively bullish.

Available on Amazon