Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 7, No. 3, 2008
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Robert J. Lewis
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Robert Rotondo
Sylvain Richard
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City of God
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Barbarian Invasions
Fog of War
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The Corporation
Station Agent
The Agronomist
Maria Full of Grace
Man Without a Past
In This World
Buffalo Boy
Shake Hands with the Devil
Born into Brothels
The Edukators
Big Sugar
A Long Walk
An Inconvenient Truth
Sisters In Law
Send a Bullet
Banking on Heaven
Chinese Botanist's Daugher
Ben X
La Zona
The Legacy
Irina Palm
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days


reviewed by



XXY, directed by Lucia Puenso, played at the 2007 Festival Nouveau Cinéma. Nick Schrager, who writes for SLANT, gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars.

from XXY

There's a secret at the heart of XXY, but the real mystery is why writer-director Lucía Puenzo insists on unnecessary symbolic gestures for a story otherwise told with delicacy, restraint and maturity.

At a seaside Uruguayan village, 15-year-old Alex (Ines Efron) and her parents have their self-imposed isolation interrupted by the arrival of a surgeon, Ramiro (Germán Palacios), his wife Erika (Carolina Pelereti), and their son Alvaro (Martin Piroyansky). Alex and Alvaro strike up an uneasy, highly charged friendship that develops into something more complex when the boy discovers the reason behind Alex's strange behavior and alienation from the community: she's a hermaphrodite.

from XXYPuenza inundates her tale with water-creature imagery (including shots of hermaphroditic clownfish) and names Alex's father, marine biologist Kraken (Ricardo Darin), after the mythic giant squid, decisions that fail to enhance the already pressing sense that Alex's unique physical condition engenders confusion and anger (in her) as well as curiosity and unease (in others). Fortunately, the film's treatment of its central subject is otherwise devoid of such decorative touches, turning a compassionate eye toward both Alex and Kraken's parallel attempts to come to grips with a situation that -- because Alex has stopped taking medication and, thus, will soon begin a process of "masculinization" -- is quickly coming to a head.from XXY

Puenzo's portrait of sex/gender definition is suitably prickly and non-judgmental even though, at times, the story seems incapable of truly getting underneath Alex's skin, remaining an external observer to her inner tumultuousness. Nonetheless, if XXY ultimately falls short of providing a first-person view on its protagonist's circumstances, the director's debut succeeds as a reasonably empathetic saga about the bonds shared by children and parents. Notwithstanding tacked-on tension concerning Alvaro and his callous father Ramiro, the film locates affecting pathos in the dynamic between Kraken and Alex, the latter desperate for parental acceptance, and the former wracked by shame, a fear of powerlessness and anxiety over choosing a proper course for his child. With compelling sensitivity, XXY addresses the multifaceted needs inherent to father-child relations, closing on a simple sight of an arm around a shoulder that subtly but powerfully encapsulates the virtues of faith, loyalty and empowerment.

For the ratings of all the films, click HERE.
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