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Tiresia  [DVD]
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French drama, based on the Greek myth of Tiresias, who was both male and female at the same time. Played by Clara Choveaux, Tiresia is a young Brazilian transsexual living in a rough neighbourhood on the outskirts of Paris. Refined aesthete Terranova (Laurent Lucas) becomes obsessed with Tiresia and kidnaps her, dragging her off to the country. However, removed from her regular supply of hormones, Tiresia gradually begins to change back into a man (where he is played by Thiago Telès). Terranova becomes disgusted with him, and in his rage cuts the boy's eyes out. Blinded, Tiresia wanders the countryside until he is found by Anna (Célia Catalifo), a young girl who decides to take care of him.
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In the woods outside Paris, the whores,supervised and protected by a pimp, gather to ply their trade. Terranova selects a 'girl' in a white dress and takes her off to a remote place in the country. He does not want 'her' sexually bnut eventually finds out that his guest is a transexual b ut still with male characteristics. The now-captive guest asks earnestly for his release as he has to have his hormones regularly. For a start, Terranova brings him some shaving equipment. However, on his search for the hormones, which were to be provided by his brother, Eduardo, he returns to find that the male characteristics of his guest are now more dominant and she has grown a beard. For some reason, Terranova hated this change and cuts out his eyes, takes him out to the woods and leaves him there where he cannot fend for himself in the darkness; he treated his guest like so much detritus to be treated with utter contempt.
Fortunately, the transexual is found and looked after by a young girl, Anne, who bathes his eyes and brings him to the bosom of her family. Anne and her family help him to recover and find he has somehow inherited the gift of prophecy - a soothsayer. He cannot see his anybody but he is able to give accurate predictions as to what will happen. He does not judge as he sees things in his mind's eye, he just reads what is there in his head, good or bad. Anne has feelings towards him but also she has to get on with her life. She is the centre of attention for boys who want her. It is about this time in the narrative when the film ran out of steam as if it did not know where to go from there.
It was ordinary humanity,human feelings which helped the transexual adapt to a new life he did not expect. The aesthete who blinded him in a very painful way gave him another life. From Terranova's proud and arrogant aestheticism, the film went on to show the transexual's asceticism,as he too finds that separating himself from life helped to keep him sane. Although the film was beautifully shot with a series of sunsets which aped traditional Arty landscapes, the film echoed Oscar Wilde's observation that 'All Art is useless' .
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You can read about the plot elsewhere, and it might be a good idea to read or refresh yourself with the myth of Tiresia, the blind seer. It is the pretext, if not the context, of this movie. What this movie really explores is the duality of life: male/female; priest/pervert; old/young; taker/giver; and finally, alive/dead. I found this movie fascinating in that nothing was totally as it seemed, that each person or situation held its opposite. Tiresia embraced that duality and it gave him/her sight. She/he was happy not to too narrowly define her/his gender, and it was the embrace of this dichotomy and duality that attracted everyone to him/her. Someone who lives in opposite worlds at the same time comes to see beyond what most people see, and so Tiresia was sought out.
A complex movie indeed, and one that I would highly recommend!
film is not to do so. I myself am a sort of transgender known as
androgyne (someone with the gender identity of both a man and a
woman -- or neither) and I found this film to be stifling and
disspiriting. I think the effect would be worse for someone who is
transsexual. The transgender character is abused both physically
and spiritually in this film like I have seen in no other, and
the film's hyperrealistic visual style makes the suffering all
the more palpable.
I was drawn to the film because of the androgynous aspects of
the original myth of Tiresius, and thought that the film would
embellish and augment different things than it did. All it did,
really, was heighten the misery of the situations. Its attempts
at poetry are cynical, ironic, and paradoxical. As a morality
tale, it is appalling, and it reveals the sick underside of the
church in a whole new way.
Synopsis: Teresia (Clara Choveaux) is an alluring transsexual from Brazil earning a living in France as a prostitute. She is picked up one night by a customer (Laurent Lucas) who takes her to a secluded location and makes her his prisoner. Fearful of what could happen if he is discovered he blinde Teresia and leaves her for dead secluded road Tiresia is rescued by a young girl named Anna (Celia Catalifo) who nursed him/her back to health. Upon healing Tiresia now possesses the gift of second sight and begins foretelling coming events to anyone who will listen.
Critique: I had high hopes for the '03 film `Tiresia'. While I'm not generally attracted to erotica, the fact that the storyline was based on a Greek myth that dealt with second sight immediately caught my attention. Unfortunately for my tastes this modern interpretation simply didn't life up to my expectations.
- `Tiresia' is successful at creating a smoldering, brooding atmosphere and lots of existential angst that produces the feel and texture of a grander drama just beyond the veil of the mundane drama unfolding the screen.
- The soundtrack is highly original and perfectly enhances the perception of otherness.
- The production values are first rate throughout.
- There are also some very good, though subdued performances.
- The pace is exceedingly slow and the dialogue just isn't profound enough to keep the audience fully engaged.
- The storyline drifts into incoherency at times and the ending is unsatisfying.
Maybe it's just too nihilistic for me, but whether that's the reason or not it's definitely not something I'd care to watch again which is my bottom line in evaluating any film. However with that said I'm sure there's a body of film fans out there that would love this film.