MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 25, 2020: LINGUA FRANCA

In telling the story of undocumented transgender Filipina caregiver Olivia, writer/director/actress Isabel Sandoval’s quietly powerful drama Lingua Franca calls attention to an issue that too many people find easy to dismiss as not their concern. And it does so with empathy and humanity, hopefully opening hearts and minds before the credits roll.

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Isabel Sandoval on LINGUA FRANCA, Aesthetics and Political Acts – Leslie Combemale interviews

Isabel Sandoval has created a subtle, sensual story that goes beyond the trans narratives released by largely white, male, cis-gendered mainstream directors of today. Her film Lingua Franca is a relationship-based tale that follows trans Filipina Olivia in her struggle to find some joy and live her life authentically as a caregiver in Brighton Beach, while trying to secure a green card.

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SEAHORSE: THE DAD WHO GAVE BIRTH – Review by Martha K Baker

At 30, Britisher Freddy McConnell chose to have a child. He is transgender, so he had to stop his female-to-male hormone treatments to return to being female in order to conceive and deliver. McConnell, a freelance journalist, felt responsible for telling his story. So he invited The Guardian, the newspaper where he worked, into the production and Jeanie Finlay to direct the process.

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SEAHORSE: THE DAD WHO GAVE BIRTH – Review by Leslie Combemale

In Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth, documentary filmmaker Jeanie Finlay gets full access to the experience of transgender parental-hopeful Freddie McConnell. Freddie navigates acting on the commitment to have his first child biologically, by preparing his body and mind to allow for pregnancy, and going through what only a transgender man might experience in doing so.

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QUEEN OF LAPA – Review by Diane Carson

Luana, a sex worker since age, is a nationally recognized activist who established a safe hostel where transgender sex workers to live and work. Filmmakers Theodore Collatos and Carolina Monnerat hang out in the hostel, following the ladies day to day, overhearing conversations, watching brief performances and visiting the streets. What becomes obvious, and as one says, “We’re like a family. . . we cry, we love, we fight.”

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Sydney FF 2020: A PERFECTLY NORMAL FAMILY – Review by Sarah Ward

My Perfectly Normal Family stems from the first-time feature filmmaker’s own upbringing with her transgender father. The film tells a fictional tale, but IS so specific in its rendering of emotions that it could only spring from someone who has been there herself.

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BIT – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

The moment Nicole Maines first hit the news through the landmark human rights decision in the Doe v. Clenchy anti-discrimination case in the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 2013, there was a strong indication that she would succeed at whatever she put her mind to. The good news for those of us with a desperate hunger for fresh young talent in film and television is that what she’s put her mind to is acting.

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