Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DH Fest

I had mentioned DH Fest in a previous post as part of the openness of Mexico City that had surprised me.  Well, we made an effort and made sure we had tickets for two of the movies shown as part of the event - which, by the way, is called DH Fest because it's a Human Rights (Derechos Humanos) Festival.  It's interesting that Mexico City would organize a festival with such a broad scope, and it probably reflects contemporary Mexico's worries and aspirations.  

Anyhow, what did we buy tickets for?   Firs, for an Indian-Norwegian documentary called "Light fly, fly high".  

Well, what an amazing docu.  I totally loved it.  It totally moved me.  And I could find no fault at all with it.  The story of a woman who's born with everything against her: female, low caste, disowned by her family, unmarried, and interested in a sport that's male dominated and reeks of corruption and abuse.  The story of determination, self-reliance and uncompromising self-respect.  It's filmed with no moral judgement, with a marvelous objective detachment that gets you deeply involved with the protagonist through her raw story with no need for melodrama or ridiculous music.   The filming team spotted something in Thulasi - the protagonist - something that made them think "Her, she is the one", and it made them follow her for months, with no certainty of what the ending would be like. That's powerful.  And Thulasi, even more so.

Afterwards - and how lucky we were to buy tickets in advance, 'cause they were definitely sold out at the cinema - we saw "Becoming Chaz".  If you've been following this blog, you might have noted I'm a fan of Buck Angel, a very outspoken female-to-male trans activist.  So I was very interested in Chaz's story, as it is a very different transitioning story, from many angles.  

So, first, what I didn't quite like - the way the story was told.  It aired first on Oprah's channel.  That should say it all.  Drama.  Lots.  Music cueing emotions.  And sadly it contrasted like night and day with the previous docu we saw.  Didn't like that at all.

But now let me tell you what I did like.  I did like the brutal honesty.  Chaz, his girlfriend, his family - even Cher - were as honest as they could be.  They bared themselves in order for us to try to understand, even while they themselves were still grasping for a full understanding of things.  On top of that, Chaz himself was there and, like I mentioned, the place was full, with a very strong presence of queer and trans people.  Though the fest might be somehow preaching to the choir with themes like this, I bet there were enough people there that left the cinema changed somehow, and ready to spread a bit more understanding, a bit more openness outside.   I've said it before - I admire and thank trans people who are so open about their lives' stories.  They broaden the way we conceive gender, sexuality, and most definitely human rights.

The fest had plenty more films and docus I would have loved to see if I had had the time.  But these two were brilliant choices.  And it showed me a side of Mexico City I'm growing pretty fond of.

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