Film Archive

International Programme 2014
Naomi Campbel Camila José Donoso, Nicolás Videla

Paula, a transsexual from a run-down suburb of Santiago de Chile, needs money for her final operation. A reality show would do the trick … desire in the minefield of prejudice.

Naomi Campbel

Documentary Film
83 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Rocío Romero, Catalina Donoso
Camila José Donoso, Nicolás Videla
Matías Illanes
Nicolás Videla, Daniela Camino
Nicolás Videla, Camila José Donoso
Roberto Collío
Paula Yermén is a transsexual who lives in a seedy suburb of Santiago de Chile. Her personal drama is poverty, because the operation that would make her a complete woman isn’t free. Paula’s only chance is a reality show that would pay for a sex change – at the price of baring her body and soul to the audience. Like Paula’s sex, which is somehow “in-between”, the directors have chosen an in-between narrative format: diary clips shot by Paula with her camcorder, own documentary material and discretely re-enacted moments, for example between Paula and her lover. This method makes sense, since the film is the result of a two-year co-operation with Paula. She is less a classical protagonist than the actor of herself in the minefield of traditional social preconceptions. Her longing to re-invent herself in a new body is in strange contrast to her spiritual attitude, which goes back to her half-indigenous origins. The spirits she invokes for help speak to the soul, not to a mechanically manufactured new body. But this is an insight Paula can’t reach until she fails the casting process and has no way out any more.
Matthias Heeder