It has been pointed out to me that Shinjuku Boys is something of a documentary classic. Only now getting recognition at Hot Docs, it has been celebrated around the world since it was made 15 years ago.
Production values are low enough that it feels even older. Rather than a traditional story arc, the film is a seemingly random collection of moments in the lives of three Shinjuku Boys — Japanese women who live as men but don’t identify as lesbian or transgendered. The film is set in a restaurant staffed by Shinjuku Boys and patronized almost exclusively by heterosexual women disillusioned with the men in their lives. The Shinjuku Boys show them the love and companionship they’re missing.
Shinjuku Boys, Sat, May 1, 11:30 am, The ROM Theatre, 100 Queen’s Park.
The “Socalled” Movie
This film began with a desire to document a musical tour from Kiev to Odessa mounted to bring klezmer music “back to where it came from.” Instead, it became an exploration of Josh Dolgin (aka Socalled), a gay, klezmer-playing, Jewish, Montreal-based MC.
The film skips along with glances at a performer without limits, a flurry of creative energy in music, magic, cartooning and filmmaking. Chances are those unfamiliar with Socalled will see things in him with which they are intimately familiar.
Watch for glimpses of his shy boyfriend.
The “Socalled” Movie screens Sun, May 2, 9:15 pm at Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor St W and Tues, May 4, 11:30 am, The ROM Theatre, 100 Queens Park.
Nobody Passes Perfectly
Shot in Germany and Denmark, this film is a blunt look at two transgendered men as they ponder the connections between their bodies and minds. It feels at first like a clunky video project — protagonists have stuttering, unscripted conversations with friends and loved ones about the trials and tribulations they face at different stages of transition. But the film soon becomes a slightly uncomfortable debate about the sources and nature of gender identity. This documentary doesn’t lay out answers for the viewer.
See it with a cogent friend; once the lights come up, you’ll want to talk it over.
Nobody Passes Perfectly, Mon, May 3, 7 pm, Cumberland Cinemas 2, 159 Cumberland St and Wed, May 5, 2 pm, Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave.