Lasting Marks

milkboys Films & TV, History & People, News & Opinions 3 Comments

The story of sixteen men put on trial for sadomasochism in the dying days of Thatcher’s Britain was told by the police, the prosecution and the tabloid press — but not by those in the dock.

Lasting Marks is the story of a group of men, brought together through their shared sexual desires, and the vice investigation (named ‘Operation Spanner’) that followed when the police acquired a video tape of these acts being performed, Lyne delves into a somewhat forgotten, historic case in this informative and engaging film.

They

milkboys Film & TV, Films & TV 5 Comments

In most cases trans kids know who they are, even at a young age. They don’t tell their families they “want to be” a gender different from their body parts. They say they are that gender, and it is usually their families who have to reframe their understanding of the boy or girl they thought they had.

Even the most certain of kids and the most supportive of families face a challenge as their child approaches adolescence. Do you block puberty with medication to preserve the child’s choices about gender until later?

“They” and “their” are the preferred pronouns for the lead character, known just as J, and played by a trans actor named Rhys Fehrenbacher. J is a young teen who is having an adverse reaction to the puberty blockers and has to decide what to do. J’s parents are away caring for another family member, their return home delayed, and J’s brisk but not uncaring sister Lauren and her Iranian boyfriend, Araz have come to stay with J until their parents return.

Writer/director Anahita Ghazvinizadeh gives the film a lyrical, meditative quality. J’s parents, sister, Araz, and doctor are all understanding and supportive, if distracted. They are all so accepting that no one seems to think J might need to talk about the momentous decisions they are confronting.

We see many moments in nature, as though to locate J’s transitions within the context of the natural world. Lauren and Araz are both preoccupied with their own personal and professional challenges as well. There is also a long, seemingly improvised section that takes place in the home of one of Araz’s relatives, with Lauren and J at a large family party. Throughout, it almost seems as though we are eavesdropping on bits and pieces of the J’s world.

That is not always successful, and some of the choices are heavy-handed. But thankfully, it is not didactic or preachy. J may not know what they want, but Ghazvinizadeh has confidence that they will make the right choice, and trusts us to root for them.