Sunday, August 18, 2013

Prinscesa; a delayed review

Rewiew by Sabrina Samone, TMP

Yes, I know it’s been out since 2001 but I finally get my chance to give a review about one of the best films  ever about transgender people and the foreign Italian/protégées sub titled film is one I felt, never got it's due respect in the genre of American transgender films. This film that tackles a major taboo subject rarely discussed with such simplicity. It tackles immigration and obtaining proper identification as major factors in leading transgender women into poverty. Having a love story about a heterosexual cis gender males’ love for a transgender woman, has never been and has yet to be handled with such an intimate look into two peoples struggle to have a healthy relationship and how gender dysphoria affects it, or has tackled suicide and the unique relationships between like minded trans-women and how we can relate to one another as much as Prinscesa has. A film where a transgender woman is considered desirable and beautiful had never and since been demonstrated in such away in a popular film. It has been 12 years since this film hit the European screens and we as community, though are seeing progress and recent achievement like Lavern Cox in Netflix’s ‘Orange is the New Black’, we are obviously not seeing enough or fast enough from Hollywood to tackle diverse, positive, realistic portrayals of transgender women and even more specifically, transgender women of color.

The young Brazilian Fernando, leaves a devout Catholic family in the jungles of the Amazon; poor, African-descent, transgender and beautiful, to move to Italy. There, Fernanda lives her life as a trans-woman, but uneducated and young; her only means of making her dream come true as a woman is to prostitute. She is first lead by her fellow transgender friends from her area in Brazil. She differs from them because they are transvestite and the difference of being transgender is portrayed beautifully but not seperately. She’s then lead to the madam of the local Trans sex workers; who is mature and financially able to help Fernanda on her journey until she meets Gianni. She meets Gianni by random, on one of her working nights on the streets; he does not know, he is intrigued and began to woo her into a romance. This film Tackles some delicate issues between trans-women and heterosexual cis-gender men beautifully and is the only film to do so, so deeply.

On many levels, Prinscesa tackles on at least one if not many issues, faced by all Transgender women. It was during a time when a pre session  of transgender characters in film were breaking records year after year, starting maybe with  ‘Midnight in the Garden of Evil’, with the Lady Chablis, then the ‘Crying Game’, which was the first ever to be nominated for an Academy Award. Since then we had been replaced with female actress or gay men portraying transgender characters like we did with Felicity Hoffman in ‘Transamerica’ and the recent decision on Broadway to have Neil Patrick Harris to play Hedwig in the angry Inch, a jab at Transsexuals having a botched sex reassignment surgery. It has been one major reason we all applaud the efforts having Lavern Cox, a trans-woman of color play a dynamic transgender role as she does in OITNB. We need to show more support for the filmmakers who choose to tackle intimate, mass educational issues of Transgender women, played by Transgender women.

I had never been able to find good clips of the film on YouTube, until recently I stumbled across this recent upload of the complete film. If you haven’t seen Princessa, I highly recommend you do. It was a film far ahead of its time and remains sadly so. Hope you enjoy the film as much as I do and see how some of the most, delicate issues are addressed.
The Complete film in 1:30min in Italian/protégées with english subtitles

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