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QMR: beautiful boxer

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Beautiful Boxer: Based on a true story, this film explores the life of Parinya Charoenphol (Nong Toom), a famous Thai kickboxer, who uses the money and influence gained from her winning matches to facilitate her gender transition.

Country: Thailand, 2003

Original Language: Thai and English

Rating: 4.5/5

Available for purchase on Amazon.

Zavi thinks: This is such a powerful story, and it’s even more amazing because it’s true.  This is one of the best representations of a trans character that I have ever seen in a film (other representations of similar caliber include Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry and Bree in Transamerica).  I also found it incredibly refreshing that this film is both a “trans” film and an “overcoming obstacles” story, even though it is an unfortunate testament to trans exclusion in media that Nong Toom’s story of eventual success was so surprising.  Another random refreshing aspect of this film is that this is the first time I’ve ever seen a …

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QMR: ma vie en rose

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Ma Vie En Rose (My Life In Pink): Young Ludovic is confident that ze was meant to be born a girl and that god just made a small mistake, but convincing hir family and community proves to be harder than anticipated.

Country: France, 1997

Original Language: French

Rating: 5/5

Zavi thinks: Though this film is overall lighthearted, it touches on many quite serious issues, such as hate crimes and class differences.  As an innocent child, Ludovic simply cannot understand why others feel so threatened by hir non-binary gender, and hir struggle to be hirself brings up the issue of gender panic. Though dealing with some very adult issues, the young star of this film remains utterly endearing.

Panda thinks: Ma Vie En Rose effectively blends fantasy and reality, much in the way that I imagine a child’s mind would.  The film offers a unique first person perspective on the early struggles of child questioning hir gender.  I really love the color and the lighting in this movie.  It …

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QMR: sordid lives

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Sordid Lives: When forced to return to his small Texas hometown for a funeral, a young gay man must finally come out to his family, and the family as a whole must deal with its many secrets.

Country: USA, 2000

Original Language: English

Rating: 4/5

Zavi thinks: It takes a few minutes for this film to get rolling, but once it does, its complex layers of dry humor make it absolutely hilarious.  Billed as a “black comedy about white trash,” this film perfectly captures the unique nuances of being in a large Southern family, from the idea that ‘a-statement-isn’t-judgmental-if-you-say-bless-their-heart-at-the-end’ to the concept that ‘even-though-everyone-knows-we-just-don’t-talk-about-it’.  This movie isn’t just for the Southern niche, however.  Anyone who has ever left a small hometown for a larger city and experienced the challenge of coming home as a different person will relate to it.  This movie is endearing, silly and weird all at once and is great for group movie nights.

Panda thinks: I wasn’t sure what to think of this film …

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QMR: transamerica

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Transamerica: Weeks before her gender reassignment surgery, a tranwoman is shocked to discover that she unknowingly fathered a child.  She is forced to confront a wide variety of issues from her past while on a cross-country road trip with her new found teenage son.

Country: USA, 2005

Original Language: English

Rating: 4.5/5

Zavi thinks: This movie impressed me by exploring a much broader spectrum of queer issues than I initially expected. It delves into the gender, sexuality, and secret desires of both of the lead characters and examines how these factors have made them into the people they are today. Forget cliches – this film is direct and refreshingly honest.

Panda thinks: This movie was another really pleasant surprise for me.  It feels in many ways like an older film (in fact I had no idea it was released in 2005 prior to reading the IMDB information).  At the beginning I was wary, certain that this film would be a stereotypical blurring of the lines between transwomen, crossdressers, …

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QMR: better than chocolate

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Better Than Chocolate:  A cast of quirky, queer characters quest for love and acceptance in this exceptionally cute movie. Great for snuggle-times or a feel-good group movie night.

Country: Canada, 1999

Original Language: English

Rating 4.5/5

Zavi thinks: One stand out feature of this otherwise lesbian rom-com movie is the inclusion of a trans female character with a realistic and 3-dimensional personality (as opposed to the typical, flat token drag queen character).  Judy steps outside all stereotypes and simply leads her life.

Panda thinks: I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed this film–on the surface it looks like a somewhat saccharin sweet girl meets girl romance.  In reality it is an entertaining and compelling film, full of a rich cast of characters who fall all along the spectrum of young and old, homosexual and straight (and everything in between), as well as the sexually liberated and the sexually restrained.  To be honest, the love story of the main characters in my mind serves primarily as a …

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