Review of ‘Orlando, my political biography’: a collective approach to joy | ET REALITY


From the beginning Preciado expresses love and admiration for Woolf and her novel, but also criticizes some of her choices; He is angry, for example, that Orlando is an aristocratic colonialist. Still, for the most part he expresses a palpable tenderness toward Woolf, a quality that permeates “My Political Biography” as he loosely recreates Orlando’s narrative trajectory and pulls characters, episodes, and phrases from the book. Along the way, Preciado draws attention to the construction of identity and that of the film itself, fusing form and theme. As he looks behind the scenes (and as crew members come and go), he also introduces a chorus of other voices, including those of trans pioneers like American actress and singer Christine Jorgensen and those of her own trans artists.

Preciado’s most provocative conceit is that he shares the role of Orlando with 20 other trans and non-binary individuals of different ages, colors and shapes. While Preciado remains largely off-screen, other Orlandos come and go, introducing themselves to the camera, talking about their lives and, with naturalism and charming, sometimes ridiculous theatrical flourishes, acting out scenes from the novel, their words mixed with Woolf’s. Like his Orlando, hers travels widely (albeit on a shoestring budget), metamorphoses, and weaves through the centuries. A certain Orlando (Amir Baylly) wears a magnificent headdress and shows off his legs; another (Naëlle Dariya) preens herself with a wavy wig adorned with small boats.

By sharing the role of Orlando, Preciado moves the story from the individual to the collective, taking it out of the private sphere and into the public sphere. This community change of me to us It also allows Preciado to tone down the familiar documentary binary (and power dynamic) in which there is one person who films and another who is filmed. Everyone is invited to this party. As Woolf writes, Orlando had “a wide variety of personalities to draw on”; Preciado also draws on a multiplicity of selves, at one point introducing sweet-faced, pink-haired Orlando (Liz Christin) who visits a psychiatrist, Dr. Queen (Frédéric Pierrot), while other Orlandos converse in the living room. wait sharing stories. hormones and laughter.

Liz-Orlando’s mother sent her to Dr. Queen for dressing like a girl and talking about herself feminine. When the doctor asks Orlando how she thought she was “allowed to wear a skirt when she was young,” she responds that she is not a man. “So you’re a woman?” the psychiatrist asks, visibly confused, frowning. “I wouldn’t exactly say that either,” Orlando says with a Mona Lisa smile. The visit to the psychiatrist’s office takes place quite early, and while the doctor’s bewilderment results in obvious and somewhat uncomfortable laughter, his inability (or refusal) to actually see Liz-Orlando has a sharp pain that persists throughout the rest of the movie.

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