Where Are We Now

****

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Where Are We Now
"The honesty and simplicity of this picture were then indicative of talent."

Where We Are Now is a deeply personal film, Lucie Rachel's portrait of her trans-parent is such an affecting piece that years after first seeing it I still think on it from time to time. Screened with other documentaries from the Scottish Documentary Institute's Bridging The Gap scheme at the 2016 Edinburgh Film Festival it's had a fair few outings at subsequent festivals, especially international queer ones.

I came to write this review so long after the fact for a few reasons - I was reminded specifically of this film when I saw Irene's Ghost, as that feature is so unabashedly open that I was staggered that it sustained that honesty in something not a short. I was minded by seeing Rachel's name in other places attached to her other works of how crisply shot and unflinchingly focussed this film was - some digging suggests that there's training as a photographer at play. I know that she's won awards for this film, deservedly so. It demonstrates talent more than fitting to win one of those 'under 30' prizes I'm years past. I'm in a hotel room in Edinburgh with what may have been the peripenultimate catalogue for the event (festival goers will have noticed the branded bags significantly easier to tote than in years past) as I'd wanted to check something and it was easier to pack it than fight cafe wifi, and I'd folded over the page at some point in the last 36 months and it was because I wanted to mark this work. My TiVo fills gradually with Channel 4's ever excellent Random Acts and through various deliberations (and happenstance with insomnia) her work Touch Me Don't Touch Me well, touched me. I can't remember which mailing list mentioned Both Sides Now which makes its northernmost stop in Leicester next weekend and features another of her works. Suffice to say that with the film in the back of my mind I've been minded of it.

I was also thinking about politics - way back at Q&A at the 70th EIFF she talked about atypical femininity, outwith the heteronormative, that coming closer to her parent as her parent transitioned left them "definitely a lot closer." I know in subsequent interviews she's talked about a need for more trans narratives and after hopes for genuine progress in Scotland's reform of the GRA have resulted in more consultative deployment I cannot disagree. Must not, in fact. I'm conscious that on the handful of occasions I as a long-haired cis man have been misgendered the effusiveness of the apologies have in part been predicated upon the possibility of violence. I have worked to attain and maintain a perspective as an ally, and films like this have helped. It's not a hard hill to climb, but it can be a lonely one to walk. The honesty and simplicity of this picture were then indicative of talent and subsequent success confirmed a judgement I'd made in my head rather than out loud.

Reviewed on: 22 Jun 2019
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Documentary about the relationship between a daughter and trans-parent as they embark on the road to transition.

Director: Lucie Rachel

Year: 2016

Runtime: 12 minutes

Country: UK

Festivals:

EIFF 2016
GSFF 2017

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