Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"Jack teases apart aspects of a code in which most of us are fluent but which is almost all learned, cultural." | Photo: Courtesy of SQIFF

What would you call a superhero who had every super power? Everyman, of course – at least if you’re a kid who belies it’s possible to transform by putting on a suit and a cap. Growing up, the subject of this story (portrayed by three different actors) would learn that is is indeed possible to transform ourselves through our clothing, at least socially – and that although this may not convey the ability to leap tall buildings at a single bound, the results can still be pretty dramatic.

Jack has lived as a girl (according to his family’s expectations, as a boy (by putting that cap on), as a girl boy (the way people understood it at school), as a sometimes playfully femme non-binary person and, latterly, as a man. Whilst JC Goessens’ short film briefly addresses how this journey developed and the feelings that drove it, it’s much more interested in the wider world and what Jack learned about other people in the process.

Many of the observations made here will be useful to trans men in the early stages of social transition, but they’re also of much wider interest. They have a lot to reveal both to those who have grown up without male socialisation and to those who have absorbed but never really thought about it. Gender categorisation affects our lives in ways most people never think much about, from the ways we are allowed to interact with children to our risk of encountering different types of violence and how we can acceptably express our emotions. Jack teases apart aspects of a code in which most of us are fluent but which is almost all learned, cultural.

What would it mean if we were able to let go of some of this baggage, at least internally – or to learn to use different forms of gender expression and engage with the world in different ways? Could we be heroes? Everyman, part of the 2021 Scottish Queer International Film Festival line-up, is a spirited piece of work which uses one individual’s story to address much bigger things. It’s an early salvo in a conversation with significant cinematic potential.

Reviewed on: 09 Oct 2021
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Everyman packshot
A personal, visual essay about gender transition.

Director: Jack Goessens

Writer: Jack Goessens

Year: 2020

Runtime: 11 minutes

Country: UK


GSFF 2021
SQIFF 2021

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