Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Feminist Film: Ma Vie En Rose

What did you want to be when you grew up? I hoped to be a doctor, a ballerina, and a teacher.
Ludovic, a seven year old boy and main character of the French film, "Ma Vie en Rose," dreams of being a girl. Believing that God simply misplaced his Y chromosome, Ludovic begins to dress in a feminine way and much to the horror of his parents and suburban neighbors talks about marrying a fellow male classmate.

The most jarring moments of "Ma Vie en Rose" or "My Life in Pink" are those that depict Ludovic's parents' reactions to his innocent belief. They slap him, beat him, blame him, and even after he tries to end his small life, refuse to allow him to wear a skirt. A reviewer of the film commented, "[In "Ma Vie en Rose,"] people around Ludovic are incapable of explaining to him why it's wrong for a boy to want to be a girl. They can only respond by blaming and persecuting him."

To watch this young child's journey is heartwrenching. To see him stripped of his innocence because of others' fear of difference caused my eyes to well. This movie depicts the pain of a young transgendered child and places the blame on his neighbors and family, symbolically us, the viewers, and our misconceptions, exclusion, fear, and hatred of Ludovic. To see such pain embodied in a beautiful seven year old child, who is just waiting for a mistake to be corrected, will break your heart.

I highly recommend this movie to the readers and commentors of this blog, especially in light of recent debates on some postings. It is subtitled, but it is worth the extra effort. Interestingly, the film is rated R although it depicts no extreme violence, sex, nudity, or profane language.


Amelia said...

Where did you find this, Kate?
I'm very interested in seeing it. Thanks for the post!

Kate said...

Its in the library. Well, its currently in my room, but it will be returned to the library today or tomorrow. lol. Yes. Watch it. Its wonderful!

Anonymous said...
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Amelia said...

Anonymous, I am deleting your comment because it was completely uncalled for to call into question the poster's sexual orientation and "lifelong goals." If you would like to voice your same criticisms in a more respectful manner, please feel free to leave another comment.

Kate said...

I apologize that this post was offensive to you. I am not trans-gendered, so I don't understand the experience of living as such and recognize this. I intended this post to be sympathetic towards such a discriminated against group, so an offense was completely inadverdent. I will edit that part of the post, along with my apparently incorrect use of the expression "in lieu."

However, I posted this film review in order to introduce the readers of this blog to different mediums of feminism, not because it was a slow news day. I stand by the review and recommendation of the film and the emotions it evoked in me.

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Holly Grande said...

I saw Ma Vie en Rose a couple years ago when I decided to rent every French movie available in my local Hollywood Video. I loved it--so heartbreaking at times, but a fantastic film. I wanted to give Ludovic a hug.

lindabeth said...

This movie is excellent! We just watched it Wednesday in the Feminist Theory in the Social Sciences class I TA for and I found it quite moving!

It was a film to accompany the reading of "Undiagnosing Gender" in Judith Butler's Undoing Gender (a surprisingly lucid read for Butler!) and Eve Sedgewick's "how to Bring your Kids up Gay" essay, and I highly recommend those readings!

One tiny (but important!) correction to your summary: Ludo doesn't begin dressing the way he does because he thought God made a chromosomal error, but rather that was one of the many ways Ludo tried to account for his seemingly gender anomaly.

The film really brings to light the degree to which everyday life and play is gendered, and the film really highlights the extent to which gender is socially policed.

In a world where the sex-gender-sexuality triad wasn't so rigid, would people who identify with aspects we think of as "feminine" necessarily feel compelled to have sex-change surgery in order to "fit in" with social norms?

I mean, the kid is 7, but at the same time, Ludo wasn't thinking his body was necessarily "wrong"--he was perfectly comfortable in who he was, it was everyone else who weren't able to handle it. He didn't see his body as a barrier to being who he felt he was-a girlboy.

Anyway, I think the film is brilliant and people should watch it before making insensitive or critical statements.