Slow but engrossing, this French-Portuguese drama (2009) focuses on a middle-aged transvestite in crisis. His career as star of a local drag show is waning, which presents him with the decision of whether to live as a man or a woman; his relationship with his young junkie boyfriend is crumbling; his silicone breast implants are infected; and his son, sexually conflicted and estranged from the father, has gone AWOL after killing a male sex partner. As turgid as all this might sound, it's elevated by cinematographer Rui Pocas, who makes poetic use of light and color, and writer-director Joao Pedro Rodriguez, whose artful blend of humor, fantasy, and religious imagery reaches past the obvious antecedent of Pedro Almodovar toward such dream weavers as Cocteau, Fellini, Fassbinder, and Tennessee Williams. In Portuguese with subtitles.
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The 14th European Union Film Festival continues Friday, March 11, through Thursday, March 31.