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‘A Fantastic Woman’ Could Have Been Paramount in Portraying a Transgender Woman’s Struggle

"A Fantastic Woman" fails to carry us along in its protagonist's tough journey from bereavement to isolation to confrontation to settlement. Marina can't wait to get out of it.

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Daniella Vega
'A fantastic Women' seems stretched out. Flickr

Film: “A Fantastic Woman” (Spanish, with English Subtitles, based on a transgender woman); Director: Sebastian Lelio; Starring: Daniela Vega; Rating: 1/2 (2 and a half stars)

“A Fantastic Woman” could have been penetrating portrait of a transgender woman’s struggle for dignity after her middle-aged lover suddenly dies on her.

Marina (played with consummate sensitivity by Daniela Vega) never quite recovers from the traumatic shock. Neither does the film. It quickly goes downhill from the point of tragedy, building what looks like a shell-shocked narrative in-sync with the stupor that falls over Daniela’s soul after Orlando (Francisco Reyes) passes away.

The ensuing trauma of a ‘woman’ who is unacceptable to society for her gender and status in the life of the man she loved, is brought out like a dentist extracting rotten teeth. It is a graceless situation.And director Sebastian Lelio goes with the frown, rendering every crease in Daniela’s disheveled existence in shades of black and fright.

Daniela Vega
Spanish makes the dialogue-heavy sequences, makes it seem unnecessarily stretched-out and verbose. Flickr

Daniela’s dilemma is so in-your-face, it hardly needed to be affirmed so strongly by the narrative. Her humiliation is shown in scenes in the hospital and at the police station. And we know what happens to the mistress specially when she is gender-challenged. But Marina’s behaviour post the tragedy eschews empathy. She frets, fumes, snarls and at one point even jumps on to the car of her deceased lover’s family to bounce up and down.

By this point the edgy narrative begins to look uneasily unfocused.

Perhaps Marina’s unconventional methods of protest are a cultural things. Maybe in Chile, the conventions of bereavement are played out at a pitch that seems fairly bizarre to us. Also, the fact that the film is in Spanish makes the dialogue-heavy sequences, such as the one where Marina is confronted by Orlando’s wife in a car basement, seems unnecessarily stretched-out and verbose.

Also Read: Eating diorder can be treated in transgenders

“A Fantastic Woman” fails to carry us along in its protagonist’s tough journey from bereavement to isolation to confrontation to settlement. Marina can’t wait to get out of it.

Neither can we. (IANS)

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‘Paa’ was a Sort of Landmark for me: Vidya Balan

'Paa' awakened maternal instinct in me, says Vidya Balan

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Vidya Balan
Actress Vidya Balan talks about what 'Paa', the national award-winning film meat to her. Wikimedia Commons

Actress Vidya Balan could not believe that her film “Paa” has completed 10 years since release.

Noting how time flies, Vidya got nostalgic and shared what the National Award-winning film meant to her.

Directed by R. Balki, “Paa” narrated the story of a 12-year-old boy named Auro (played by Amitabh Bachchan), who suffers from a rare genetic disorder called progeria. In the movie, Abhishek Bachchan played the role of Big B’s father while Vidya Balan was seen as his mother.

Actress Vidya Balan
Vidya Balam is currently shooting for a biopic on the late mathematics genius Shakuntala Devi. Wikimedia Commons

Revealing how the film awakened maternal instinct in her , Vidya said: “‘Paa’ was a sort of landmark for me…I have said it many times over that it awakened the maternal instinct in me for the first time ever …and to top that I got to witness the magical transformation of Mr. Bachchan into Auro…And lastly working with Balki was unbelieveable …It was ofcourse a big idea to start with but the process was easy and effortless..and the way he normalized behaviour of all the characters and that too with such little instruction was a huge learning.”

Also Read- It is Difficult to Hide Emotions: Jacqueline Fernandez on Fame

Vidya is currently busy shooting for a biopic on the late mathematics genius Shakuntala Devi. (IANS)