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Somewhere in Santiago at a dimly-lit nightclub, Orlando, the kindly and well-off owner of a textile company, locks eyes with Marina, a hopeful singer and the roughly half-his-age love of his life. But, unfortunately, after Marina's birthday celebration and a night of passion, Orlando falls gravely ill--and by the following morning--he dies in hospital. In the wake of her companion's untimely death, Marina will soon realise that, from now on, everything is brought into question: her involvement in Orlando's death, their unconventional relationship; and above all, her right to mourn her beloved deceased. In the end, what was Marina's crime; a deed so hideous that would rob a fantastic woman of her respect, her dignity, and ultimately, her identity?Written by
A story of difficult love in a transgender package sure to make you see that love conquers all.
If you feel uncomfortable or just out of it with the transgender topic, make sure to see the remarkable 2018 Oscar winner for best foreign language film, A Fantastic Woman, to be au currant and edified about a love story than transcends transgender. If you've come to expect a measured study of character and social norms from foreign films, then see this Chilean Oscar winner.
Marina (Daniela Vega) is a waitress and moonlighting singer in love with an older man, Orlando (Francisco Reyes), who dies suddenly. While everyone knows or immediately guesses that she used to be a he, the rejection she experiences, from police who want to treat her like a criminal to his family, who can't understand his eccentric love ("I don't know what you are," says Bruno, played by Nicolás Saavedra), we become quickly aware about the unique and authentic love that will be tested long after Orlando's death.
You may feel comfortable sensing the presence of Hitchcock and his Vertigo (writer director Sebastian Lelio must respect that director, and Pedro Almodovar, whose love of women in his films is legendary). Whatever, A Fantastic Woman has the trappings of world cinema that explores identity and society in unusual ways.
Vega is a transgender and singer in real life whose performance is among the best of 2017. She is responsible for your feeling comfortable about transgender and for seeing this as a strong statement about people who are different in society, people who violate the marriage vows for love, and the need for understanding and sympathy for those about whom we know so little.
Although Marina's treatment by Orlando's family occupies the central conflict, the soundtrack with multiple classical pieces elevates the crassness to operatic stature; the aria from Giacomelli's Sposa son speaks clearly of the abused wife in possibly the most blatant statement of support for Marina. Otherwise, the film lets you draw your own conclusion.
A Fantastic Woman lets you gently into transgender challenges without ever preaching to you. It is about love, fantastic or otherwise, at home in a great film.
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