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
Chile
2013
83 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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