Review: Beautiful red dress – Cineuropa

– British director Dionne Edwards's first feature film is a sympathetic, though deeply ambiguous, look at masculinity and sexuality.

This article is available in English.

Although an increasing number of British films focus on black and non-white people (most recently, the rom-com). Ray Lynn [+lee también:
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), they are still relatively few. Less rare are those that deal with sexuality beyond a heteronormative norm: see the talk Blue jeans [+lee también:
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. Beautiful red dressthe British director's first feature film Dion Edwards, which opens in the United Kingdom today, June 19, and is distributed by BFI Distribution, is the rare film that belongs to both categories. But does that make it an exception or an ordinary British film that has been shown twice?

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The film itself seems to have a hard time answering this question as it treats its subject matter and characters with a genuine interest in realism and nuance, only to finally arrive at a somewhat ambiguous, if progressive, sentiment. Natty Jones He plays Travis, a father in his 30s who is released from prison at the beginning of the film. Taken by his stylish partner Candace (Alexandra Burke), he appears to be the image of traditional masculinity: a man who usually dresses in black, rarely shows his emotions and instead displays a general air of toughness. It's hard to know how he feels about anything, and anyway, Candace is very busy preparing for an important audition for the role of Tina Turner in a new stage musical. Much of the film revolves around this respectable and admirable mother, who works as a cashier in a supermarket while dreaming of going to the theater; The film itself seems to be in awe of her, so much so that Travis recedes into the background. Burke is a more dynamic actor, playing a character who initially seems more flamboyant, and Jones' somewhat homogeneous role doesn't help keep the focus on Travis. But as it turns out, this character is very impressed by Candace's beauty, just not in the way one might expect. Already looking with obvious envy at the expensive sequined dress Candace had bought for her test, Travis decided one day to wear it. He enjoys watching his reflection wearing this gorgeous dress, but he also enjoys the feeling of wearing it, walking around in it, and touching the sequins and beads on his body.

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In those scenes, we see another side of Travis — the feminine side, of course, but on a larger scale, he also comes across as a more open and expressive person, someone who truly enjoys being in his body. The film seems to suggest that Travis may not be trying to look like a woman, but more specifically, and as he himself says near the end of the film, to look “pretty.” Beauty is usually categorized as feminine, but it is unclear if this is Travis's main interest.

The director's decision to leave this question open is helpful in some ways, as it gives the characters enough room to be complex beings who don't have all the answers because, in reality, no one does. It's a worthwhile idea, but one that the film arrives at only after a long, contentious process involving Travis, Candice, and their 14-year-old daughter, Kenesha (Temilola Olatunbosun) They anxiously encounter their fears and anxieties several times, until they finally realize that it is easier to simply go with the flow. This is also realistic, and if the film had pushed in this direction more, we would likely have seen the characters' fears surface eventually – lessons learned often have to be learned over and over again. But it's a somewhat difficult experience, as the film's honest and serious tone rarely lets up before the final resolution. The accumulation of Candace's repeated appeals for the part in the musical, each one more potentially life-changing than the one that came before it, forms the structure of a film that almost escalates, even the most ambiguous and open-ended one. ending. Adam ScarthThe film's subtle cinematography and attractive color scheme help engage you in the (melo)drama of this life, but the film still feels too repetitive and long to really hold attention. After all this conflict, a happy ending is welcome, but its mystery feels relatively less powerful than what came before.

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Beautiful red dress It is produced by Teng Teng Films. International sales are handled by the protagonist.

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