Call Me Marianna

Call Me Marianna
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Call Me Marianna

È stata una delle rivelazioni di Locarno 68 e nel finale ha fatto sciogliere il pubblico in liberatori lacrimoni dopo averlo emozionato per tutta la durata del film: il toccante documentario polacco Call Me Marianna (Mów mi Marianna) di Karolina Bielawska si è aggiudicato il Premio Zonta Club Locarno ‘per la promozione della giustizia e dell’etica sociale’ dopo aver sbancato a giugno il Festival di Cracovia con quattro premi.
Nonostante racconti una storia vera a forte rischio di sensazionalismo – una trans semiparalizzata da un ictus dopo l’operazione di cambio di sesso – la regista riesce a trattare l’argomento con un pudore e una sensibilità davvero rari, evitando quello sguardo didattico o morboso da ‘visita allo zoo’ tipico di altri cineprodotti simili. C’è qualcosa di struggente e poetico in Call Me Marianna anche perché non è tanto un documentario sul transessualismo quanto piuttosto sulla solitudine: il 43enne Wojtek viene abbandonato dalla moglie, dai figli e dai suoi genitori quando intraprende coraggiosamente il difficile percorso per il cambiamento di sesso, non riuscendo più a vivere una doppia vita da donna incarcerata in un’identità maschile che non percepisce propria. La madre non sente volentieri Wojtek al telefono e lo prega di ‘parlarle come un figlio’ senza farsi chiamare Marianna. Poi, finalmente, l’operazione risolutiva. Marianna parla al telefono con un’amica, gioiosa per la ‘cosa’ che non c’è più, felice di non doversi più vergognare guardandosi allo specchio. Ma il destino incombe minaccioso. Poco dopo Marianna viene colpita da un ictus, la parte sinistra del suo corpo resta paralizzata, la vita quotidiana diventa un incubo.
Grazie all’amore di un signore baffuto decisamente più grande di lei e a una lunga terapia rieducativa, Marianna torna lentamente alla vita che diventa anche una pièce teatrale. La forza del film sta anche in una visibile empatia fra la protagonista e la regista, la cui videocamera non è mai invadente, dando l’impressione che la sua presenza sia impercettibile e non modifichi in alcun modo la naturalezza spontanea di ciò che si svolge davanti ad essa. “Il film non è basato sulle mie osservazioni – ha dichiarato la regista al magazine Wysokie Obcasy – ma sul rapporto che si è sviluppato fra di noi. In qualche modo la sua vita è diventata parte della mia. Questa è la sua battaglia per l’accettazione, l’amore e la dignità, alla quale ho partecipato io stessa” (Roberto Schinardi, gay.it)

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trailer: Call Me Marianna

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The film centers on Marianna, an attractive 40-year-old woman who has just sued her parents in order to obtain a sex change. Alienated by her mother and neglecting her best friends, she seeks refuge in a theater group where she comes to make sense of her situation by rehearsing a play based on her past. When the days to the operation loom over her, Marianna kindles an unlikely romance with an older gentleman who offers her a ray of hope, but she remains confronted with the idea of losing what she holds dearest to her — her family — and she must face the chilling reminder of the sacrifices people take to be themselves. The film is described as “an homage to freedom of identity and the unpredictable twists and turns life can offer.” (Variety)

Marianna è una bella quarantenne che ha appena fatto causa ai suoi genitori per poter ottenere di cambiare sesso. Respinta dalla madre, Marianna trascura le sue amicizie più strette e cerca rifugio in un gruppo di teatro, dove cerca di dare un senso alla propria situazione recitando una pièce basata sulla sua vita passata. Mentre la data dell’operazione si avvicina, Marianna inizia un’improbabile relazione amorosa con un uomo più anziano che le offre un barlume di speranza. Marianna accetta infine l’idea di perdere ciò che considera la parte più importante della sua vita, la famiglia, e acquisisce la consapevolezza dei sacrifici da fare per essere se stessi.

CRITICA:

Call Me Marianna, a documentary film directed by Karolina Bielawska awarded at the 55th Kraków Film Festival, is not a story about a transsexual. It is a story about loneliness, hope, and the price one has to pay for it, and a magnificent piece of cinema.
Her mother still calls her ‘Wojtek’, her ex-wife avoids encounters, and her children have completely distanced themselves from her. They are ashamed. Marianna understands their reactions, fears and grudges. But there is no one who understands her.
Kadr z filmu “Mów mi Marianna” w rezyserii Karoliny Bielawskiej, fot. materialy promocyjne KFF
Still from the film Call Me Marianna, dir. Karolina Bielawska, photo: KFF promotional materials
Before she officially became Marianna, she had lived as a man for many years. She had a family, children, and a job at the Warsaw Metro. And she had a constant sense of self-disgust – a female mind trapped in Wojtek’s male body. Not until the age of 43 did Marianna realize that she could no longer live as a man. She moved out and filed for divorce. She stayed at her parents’ until they wanted to send her to a psychiatric hospital. For a while she slept in the car in order to save money for a sex change operation.
Karolina Bielawska loyally accompanies Marianna in her fight for the right to be herself. The director follows her every step, becoming an important participant in her life. ‘This film (…) is not based on my observations, but on the relationship that has developed between us. To some extent, her life became a part of my life. This is her struggle for acceptance, love and dignity, in which I have participated’, said the director to Wysokie Obcasy magazine.
The closeness between the author of the film and its protagonist turned out to be the key to success. Call Me Marianna is a motion picture imbued with warmth and empathy. The director follows the emotions of the character, but does not allow herself any sentimentality. Her camera looks closely at the protagonist, listens to her conversations and reveals her daily dealings with life and people. The cinematographer, Kacper Czubak, filmed Marianna in a manner that shows her loneliness and captures the emptiness that surrounds her.
Yet, Karolina Bielawska’s film is primarily a story about loneliness. Not about transsexualism, nor sex changes, but about exclusion. By taking up the fight for her life and her identity, Marianna dooms herself to rejection. Family members are unwilling to accept the fact that their husband and father has begun to look and act like a woman. Her daughter will not invite Marianna to her wedding, her ex-wife is reluctant to answer the phone. And Marianna’s mother begs her to behave like a normal son.
Rejected by those close to her, Marianna also feels abandoned by the God in whom she strongly believes – especially, at the moment when she was back on an even keel before fate struck again. Only a few reach out to her. Among them is Andrzej, a man met in a sanatorium, who falls in love with her and becomes one of the most beautiful characters in the film.
Kadr z filmu “Mów mi Marianna” w rezyserii Karoliny Bielawskiej, fot. materialy promocyjne KFF
Still from the film Call Me Marianna, dir. Karolina Bielawska, photo: KFF promotional materials
Bielawska shows Marianna’s path to a new life, while reconstructing events from her past. She uses old recordings from the family archive and listens to Marianna’s memories. However, instead of the traditional ‘talking heads’ interview footage, Bielawska’s film features pre-arranged scenes, such as two actors (Mariusz Bonaszewski and Jowita Budnik) sitting at a small table on a theatre stage reading passages from the play by Bielawska and based on Marianna’s story. Once again, she can relive the most difficult moments of her life. Bonaszewski plays the role of Wojtek – Marianna’s former male identity, and Budnik – the role of the wife. Marianna listens to their lines, explains the motivations, and cries at times. Now and then, the actors also give up the performance, for they are overwhelmed by emotions and the painful story they’re taking part in.
Call Me Marianna is a film full of tenderness, very intimate and beautiful. It brings tears to the eyes, but not for a moment does it force them. Marianna’s subtly narrated drama is a lesson in empathy and tolerance. (Bartosz Staszczyszyn, culture.pl)

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