A Fantastic Woman
Directed by Sebastián Lelio
HOME, 7 March 2018
A man, name of Orlando, leaves his family for Marina, a singer who is a transgendered woman: which is to say, a woman.
He dies suddenly, which leaves Marina suddenly out on a limb. Without rights, she has to return his car to the family and leave the apartment they shared together. She must confront not only the man’s family but the straight world and its attendant prejudices.
Her desire to go to Orlando’s funeral is thwarted: sorry, family only. In one quite brilliant scene we are given an instance of the female-to-transgendered female gaze (Germaine Greer take note). Orlando’s wife gives Marina a long, a cool and clinical look. Then goes on to confess that she doesn’t quite know what she is seeing: is Marina a man, a woman, something in between? Finally, a judgement is pronounced. You are a chimera, she tells Marina. Marina repeats the word, not quite accepting it.
It is an often brilliant film, not least because it manages to crowbar in a wonderful summary of St Francis’s creed: prayer is propitiation. Not the crude lusting after individual gain but the fervent wish to become an instrument of God’s Will. Attain Grace and there is nothing to fear.
Amen to that.