Sunday, 24 May 2020

Funeral Parade of Roses, directed by Toshio Matsumoto 1969

The Lovely 'Eddie'
Funeral Parade of Roses is a very unusual yet fascinating movie directed by Toshio Matsumoto in 1969. Clearly an experimental film, yet it’s so much more, offering a unique insight into a hidden subculture of Japan in the late 1960s.


Funeral Parade of Roses is an influential film which has encouraged other styles of filming for other directors. The film is said to have encouraged Stanley Kubrick to adapt A Clock Work Orange to film in the style that he did. I also see elements of other later movies too. Toshio Matsumoto himself was influenced by the films of the French New Wave, especially the work of Jean-Luc Godard.

Eddie and her friends face a surprise

Funeral Parade of Roses can be classified as a surreal, transgressive, avant garde and a queer punk drama, with documentary inserts. The film is a ‘film within a film’. The film breaks off occasionally from the drama into the real life of the actors, with interviews and some behind the scenes footage. This actually helps the non sequential, and at times psychedelic timeline of the drama, this works very well keeping the viewer interested.
The Young Eddie Tries Lipstick


Who are the actors? Toshio Matsumoto used people from the real life underground scene at the time. The main ‘gay boy’, Eddie is very pretty and you may enjoy the erotic moments within the film. The actor playing Eddie was already a gay celebrity at the time. There is no bad acting and everything is well filmed in a basic manner giving a fly on the wall effect, and a sense of realism for the audience.

Japanese tranny bars aren't like they used to be

 I didn’t feel I was watching a film that was made fifty years ago. To Western eyes the world of Japan seems surreal in itself, let alone the world of the Japanese trans bar, adding to the films merit. The film felt ahead of its time and contained subject matter that would not have been allowed in the UK when initially released.



 Some of the lovemaking content reminded me of the early Japanese Pink or Pinku eiga films but then we are moved back to the drama or even the documentary dimension of the film. These sequences do fetishise the transgender character Eddie, somewhat, but then again another trans character states that, 'all Eddie has is her sexuality'.



The usual terms of transgender do not apply within this film. As I understand there is no translation for our modern understanding, so the term ‘gay boy’ is used throughout the film. Their meaning used in the film does not seem to mean homosexual either as the characters are asked if they prefer men or women. The soundtrack is very 1960s with a psychedelic note to it, but it also has a modern quality about it too. Rather like a composer today creating a 1960s soundtrack for a modern film.

The Film Within a Film Technique

I personally approached this film with some trepidation. I just purchased the newly released Bluray, and I was not sure what to expect. The trailer (see below) does give a good account of what to  expect. I personally enjoyed the film. This really is not for everyone with its surrealism, imagery and mixed timeline. I enjoyed the glimpse into an underground transgender world of Japan in the late 1960s. Think of it as FX’s ’Pose’, done without the gloss in gritty Japanese style.

Eddie having a long lingering shower


 You’ll notice I have not mentioned the story at all. This is perhaps because the film itself and what it offers is more important than the story. But for those you want to know what it’s about here is a synopsis.

The film follows the trials and tribulations of Eddie and his male lover Jimi, whilst trying to keep their affair secret from Jimi’s other lover. Eddie struggles with his identity and we are shown his younger life with his unaccepting mother, suffering molestation and a murder for good measure. All this set against the lives of other transgender women in the underground ‘Gay Bar’ (read:’Trans Bar’) scene in Tokyo. 



The film has been beautifully restored with a new 4K scan. I saw it on a 100” screen and it really was a perfect restoration. The Bluray can be purchased at Amazon on the BFI (British Film Institute) label.

 Here is the trailer:
 

WORRIED ABOUT YOUR GENDER? 
Are you affected by crossdressing? Do you have cross gender feelings that you find difficult to talk about? Why not try Cross Dream Life at http://crossdreamlife.lefora.com

Friday, 3 January 2020

Transgender BBC Play For Today 1979 "Even Solomon"


Gender Transformation and Acceptance from 1979

Those who follow this blog know I love digging out old and rare footage from film and television featuring transgender characters. Yesterday I discovered this very rare gem from the BBC from the Play For Today series which run from 1970 to 1984. The episode from 1979 is called 'Even Solomon' and is feature length running for 82 minutes. I think it may have only been shown once on television.

The Play For Today series pushed boundaries with their content giving us such delights as 'Scum' and 'Brimstone and Treacle'. So this was groundbreaking stuff in 1979.

You have to allow for the programme being made in 1979, and forgive the rather basic filming techniques. The acting is rather staged, like you're watching a play on the stage. But the trans character is done extremely well.  Some of the information presented is not accurate by todays standards, but as a stand alone piece this really is very good.

The transgender character is called Stephen and is played very convincingly by Paul Henley. Stephen works in a bank and is teased by his by his work mates, lacks confidence, is a virgin and has no interest in sex. He lives with his mother who is a rather dominating figure and mocks him for 'being wet'. But Stephen has a secret - he likes to wear women clothes.

His secret is discovered by his mother who comes home early from an unsuccessful date. She initially falls about laughing at her son but then soon becomes horrified when she realises that this is something serious.

His mother confides with her friend during a midnight phone call. Through her friend she introduces Stephen to a cross dresser. The crossdresser soon realises that Stephen is simply not a regular crossdresser by a transsexual who can only be happy if he changes his gender full time.


Stephen decides to go full time and then returns to his bank job dressed as a female....I will not spoil the end.

The full play can be found on UK Amazon Streaming Services

On a similar note there was a spin off series produced by the BBC called 'Play House', which run from 1973 to 1983 which featured a play about a trans person accepting their gender identity, called 'Mary's Wife'. If any reader knows where I can view this forgotten gem please let me know.






Are you affected by crossdressing? Do you have cross gender feelings that you find difficult to talk about? Why not try Cross Dream Life at http://crossdreamlife.lefora.com

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Girl - Transgender Film with Victor Polster


Sadistic”, “Trauma Porn” and The most dangerous movie about a trans character in years". No this is not the latest Grindhouse exploitation film I have dug up from the dirty depths of sleaze cinema but the terms used to describe the film ‘Girl’ (2018 Belgium )- the latest transgender film directed by Lukas Dhont and starring Victor Polster. Based upon the true story of a ballerina named Nora Monsecour.

Nora Monsecour was an uncredited advisor on the set of the film to ensure authenticity of the filming and to preserve her experiences that the film is based upon. Which invalidates the criticism that the film was made from a cis perspective.

The film as you can tell and have probably read elsewhere has been severely criticised for its content and the fact that a cis male actor, Victor Polster was used to play the lead part. I understand that auditions where held and 500 actors where reviewed to play the part, many of them trans actors.

If you watch the film you will appreciate what a difficult project this film must have been to create. The lead part had to go to an actor who not only looked the part but could also dance the very intense dance sequences. Also you also have a tiny window of time to create the project. Any lost time who result in the actor playing the part aging too much during filming. So when casting for a film such as this you can’t fulfil the desires of the activists who require trans actors to play trans parts.

The director was also cautioned by the psychologists at Ghent University Hospital for Sexology and Gender at using a trans actor. They thought it ill advised casting a trans girl at a vulnerable point in her transition. So the director was acting in a responsible manner regarding the casting.


The film has a vouyeuristic approach which some may find uncomfortable. There are scenes of nudity and the removal of ‘genital tucking’ with tapes. The camera also lingers over scenes of the other girls clothed bodies at times. At first I was unsure about this but I finally agreed it helped the movie and express the turmoil of the trans girl.

On watching the film I did not know the history or controversy behind the movie. Victor Polster is absolutely convincing as the trans girl. He looks and acts the part to perfection. I was convinced that a real trans girl was playing the part.

For those who wonder what Victor looks like as a male, here you are:



The film is very good on one level and I would recommend it. However the film IS the trans element. If this part was removed you have a rather boring film about a young ballerina. The film is rather ‘fly on the wall’ and has a good sense of reality. Some may argue about one of the final scenes of self abuse which ends up with the trans girl being hospitalised. So do watch this film and make a decision for yourself.


Here is the trailer





Are you affected by crossdressing? Do you have cross gender feelings that you find difficult to talk about? Why not try Cross Dream Life at http://crossdreamlife.lefora.com


Monday, 6 May 2019

Bibi Andersen Wears High Heels

Transgender Actress and Singer Bibi Andersen 

Bibi Andersen Today
I first saw Bibi Anderson in Vincent Aranda's 1977 film 'I Want to be a Woman' (Cambio de Sexo) when I was a teenager.

Bibi played a transsexual showgirl in the movie, which required her to expose her male genitals at the end of her dance performance. A later scene shows her stripping off showing herself naked after SRS. She explains that due to the SRS she now has to wear a latex penis to satisfy the curiosity of the audience. She holds out a box containing the latex penis during one scene in the movie.

I simply presumed that Bibi was a Spanish cis actress playing the part of a transsexual showgirl, wearing the latex penis.

Bibi was born as Manuel Fern├índez Chica, on 13th February 1954, and spent her childhood in Malaga. Bibi was assigned male at birth and began female hormone treatments as an adult, changing her name to Bibi. Bibi is also known by the name Bibiana Fern├índez, I believe both names have been used when crediting her works.

When Bibi  became her true self, she began appearing in cabaret and burlesque shows in several of Barcelona's vaudeville locations. This was during her late teens and early 20s. I can only presume the shows she appeared in exploited her pre operative status. 

Bibi had become an extremely beautiful, tall and glamorous woman, who would not look out of place on the cover of any top fashion magazine.

It was during this time that she was discovered and asked to appear in Aranda's 1977 film 'Cambio de Sexo'. 
There is a scene in the film which shows a poster for Bibi's stage show out side one of the theatres, which could possibly be the real show that Bibi appeared in. Perhaps the sequence within the film was a record of one of the actual cabaret appearances? 

Bibi was a real asset to the the film. Her acting ability proven she became a celebrity all over Spain, making several television appearances and releasing many successful hits songs.



Bibi with Victoria Abril

In the 1980's she appeared in many of Pedro Almodovar's movies such as 'Matador', 'Kika' and 'High Heels'

Almodovar's 'High Heels' was his usual visual feast of colour and style, which used transgender characters.

Here we see Bibi in a musical dance sequence. You'll notice that her co star in the film was Victoria Abril, a cis actress.  If you remember Victoria Abril played the transsexual woman in the earlier film 'I Want to be a Woman', Cambio de Sexo.



Here is also an earlier Bibi Andersen music video of her song Lady Champagne.





Are you affected by crossdressing? Do you have cross gender feelings that you find difficult to talk about? Why not try Cross Dream Life at http://crossdreamlife.lefora.com





Sunday, 7 April 2019

Joesphine Joseph - Male or Female ?

Joesphine Joseph - Male or Female? - Freakshow Exploitation


For those that follow this blog you'll know that I have a keen interest in exploitation film and if there's even a hint of gender swopping then I'm on the case. I recently dug out Tod Browning's classic 1932 film 'Freaks'. A film made during the free reign of the pre-code era before sensibilities and censorship took control over Hollywoods output.  For those that are familiar with this vintage curiosity you'll know that what makes this film different is the use of real 'freaks' who were not actors but themselves.  One of these characters was Josephine Joseph, half male and half female, having a body that was split down the middle as half male and half female.



In today's world this film by Tod Browning will initially be seen as a non PC bad taste exploitation piece. However those that are brave enough to watch this film and see and judge the film for what it is will see a film which begs the viewer for tolerance and acceptance.

The film was banned in the UK for thirty years, even then being released in a highly cut down format. The original was released at 90mins but due to censorship issues it was cut down to 64 minutes. Sadly the original version is lost only the cutdown remains. From watching the film I get the feeling that many of Josephine Joseph's (JJ) scenes are now missing. I fear the film was cut as it was thought the film was too upsetting for the general public to view. Disabled people in film was a total taboo and was so for years after this films controversy.



But back to the reason for writing about this movie.  JJ was the character who was playing her/himself within the movie, and in real life made a living from appearing within freak shows at the time of filming. JJ scenes in the existing version of the film are very limited here is one of the team:

 

In freakshow fashion hermaphrodites were usually displayed in the half and half state. One side of the body male and the other half female. An outfit was also also created to help manifest the illusion of half male and half female, which would be a one piece, where one side was male and the other half female.






The illusion was also enhanced by two different hairstyles, one side male the other female. Rumour has it that many who were in the 'freak' scene exercised one side of their body making it muscular and toned whilst leaving the other side soft and flabby to create the 'moob' required for full effect. Some of these performers were male and some were female. I strongly suspect that JJ was actually a genetic born female who was exploiting public interest in the gender bending performances of the freak shows,







In real life JJ was a bit of an enigma. It is not known if JJ was actually male or female or actually perfected a convincing stunt pretending to be a hermaprodite.

JJ  was prosecuted in the United Kingdom at a show in Blackpool for false pretences and conspiracy on account of their "Half Woman-Half Man" circus show. Joseph claimed to be 27 years of age at the time (although in reality she was 33–34). The court alleged that the show was a fraud, and that she was not a true hermaphrodite. 

JJ was married to George Waas. Much of JJ's  personal life, including birth name, date of birth and death, has never be correctly verified.

You can read more about JJ at Wikipedia



The fashion of the half male half female continued to arouse public interest and was also part of the German burlesque scene of pre Nazi Berlin in Germany. As shown so perfectly here in the opening credits of Tinto Brass's Nazi exploitation film Salon Kitty.


Tod Browning's Freaks is easily available.





Are you affected by crossdressing? Do you have cross gender feelings that you find difficult to talk about? Why not try Cross Dream Life at http://crossdreamlife.lefora.com


Monday, 1 April 2019

Transgender 'Intersex' Movie - Berlin 36

Transgender Movie - Berlin 36

As transgender athletes are a hot transgender topic at the moment I thought I would do some research into the history of how the establishment has exploited cross gender within sport competitions.



During my research I came across the story of Heinrich Ratjen who was born Dora Ratjen. Dora says in his own words,  "My parents brought me up as a girl I therefore wore girl's clothes all my childhood. But from the age of 10 or 11 I started to realize I wasn't female, but male. However I never asked my parents why I had to wear women's clothes even though I was male"

Dora Ratjen AKA Heinrich Ratten or 'Heinz'
Dora was forced by the Nazi's  to replace their Jewish high jump athlete,  as part of the Berlin 1936 Olympics. The Nazi's were fully aware that Dora was a male who had been brought up as a female by his mother. So the Nazi's would rather have a trans person winning than a Jewish person. The whole concept is highly bizarre.

In 1938 she was examined by a German physician who described Dora's genitalia as having a "coarse scarred stripe from the tip of the penis to the rear", and stated his opinion that with this organ sexual intercourse would be impossible. It is from this point onward that we perhaps understand that Dora had an intersex condition. 

After the war Dora began living as a male, calling himself Heinz. 

Times magazine reported that Dora had presented as Hermann, a waiter in Bremen, "who tearfully confessed that he had been forced by the Nazis to pose as a woman 'for the sake of the honor and glory of Germany'. Sighed Hermann: 'For three years I lived the life of a girl. It was most dull.'"

Heinz refused all interviews about his life so it is very difficult to confirm the real story of his unusual life.  Heinz died in 2008. 

The film Berlin 36 covers her story, of a version of the story which will differ from the reality of his life.


Crossdressed and ready for the Nazi Olympics



The synopsis for the movie is:

Nazis remove talented high-jumper Gretel Bergmann from Germany's Olympic team because of her Jewish faith, and they replace her with another athlete -- who turns out to be a man. Together the two conspire to ruin the Nazi Olympic ambitions.

Here is the trailer:



The film is easily obtainable on DVD and streaming services. Well worth a watch. Enjoy.

For more info about Dora see the Wikipedia Entry Here

For movies about male to female gender transformation and fantasy visit Tranisa Feminisation

Monday, 11 February 2019

Male or Female? Transgender Memories

A life of feminisation fascination 

Me....Cheryl Sussex
Over the last few years I feel I have come full circle regarding my outlook on gender. As a very young child, pre school years, I decided that males and females were in fact the same. The only difference was the clothes that men and women presented in. My brain also decided that these 'costumes' that provided the gender difference also permitted the wearer to behave in a certain fashion, either masculine or feminine. Such a belief from myself as a young child was entirely understandable. Adults know that the costume that you wear dictates how you behave. If you're a policeman in uniform on duty you'll be in work mode commanding a level of respect compared to the same person dressed casual at a social occasion.

Such a simple ideology dreamt up by a young child meant that becoming a member of the opposite sex could easily be accomplished. Where this original thought came from I really don't know. The presented image of the female either adult or child, together with the permitted behaviour and emotions that were allowed by females was very appealing to me. So my brain fixated very early on the ability for me to experience 'girlhood'.

I will now share with you some random transgender memories which have stuck in my mind over the years.

Cheryl Sussex
Doing my early years of school life I soon learnt that such desires could never be made public, and needed to be kept under wraps. I remember playing in the playground once and a girl came up to me and said 'You scream like a girl', I was so ashamed. It was as if this girl had seen what was on the inside of me. My manner at the time was just like any other boy, or so I believed, however I was very shy. Another thing I was ashamed about was that I could never throw a ball over arm like the rest of the boys. If I attempted to throw a ball overarm it would only travel a very small distance. The other kids teased me saying that I can't move my arm right and throw like a girl. Sports days were an embarrassment.

My parents moved house a few times, when I was very young, which meant I had to go to a number of different schools, which didn't help with my shyness. One thing I noticed was that at each school I went to there was a 'girly boy'. Oddly enough these boys played with the girls and didn't get picked on by the other boys. I remember being totally fascinated with such feminine boys at school. I didn't befriend them as this would be a serious risk to my own acceptance. Why was I so fascinated by them? Well here was a young boy my age who was expressing a behaviour pattern, girliness, and he was dressed as a normal boy like me. He didn't need to have the costume to enable him to act like a girl, nor did he act ashamed as he was simply being himself. I would watch and admire the feminine boys from afar whilst at school. At one school the resident girly boy was playing a game of kiss chase and he caught me which meant he had to kiss me. I had to put on an act of struggling as he gave me a big kiss in front of my friends much to their amusement. I secretly liked the kiss, I was eight at the time.
Cheryl Sussex

As I grew up and went to the local comprehensive (12 to 17 years), I noticed the local feminine boy was not treated very well at all expect by the other females. The males would ridicule anything different and of course he was. I was still very fascinated by such feminine males, but this feminine boy who was girly in every way to the extreme also had a sister in the same year. They may have been non identical twins. What was strange about them both was that she was exceptionally masculine, she was dressed as a normal girl but had the behaviour and manner of the other boys. She was never teased like her brother. 

So my private study of gender through feminine boys or masculine girls was all I had to understand my own concepts of gender. To make matters even more confusing the 'twins' when they reached leaving age they both presented as heir assigned gender. He was no longer girly and she was no longer boyish. Both had gone through their own internal transformation. Maybe this was forced upon then in order to conform? I will never know.

On leaving school there were two social icons who renewed my fascination with cross gender behaviour. Boy George and Marilyn.  Seen here is this short clip (actors playing Boy George and Marilyn) from the BBC drama 'Worried About the Boy', which is a must see. There are full versions of the film on YouTube to watch. 


In my late teens I had developed twisted testicles. Yes this is exactly what you think it is. The blood supply is cut off and the testicles die if untreated. The pain was so great that the doctors 'saved me' from castration. Looking back I often wonder if it was my own body rejecting the masculinity that was to come.

It was also during this time that sexchange operations made headlines, usually in the Sunday tabloids. With the usual very unkind comments, which would result in transphobic arrests by police if they were printed today. Tula (Caroline Cosey) was the beautiful Bond girl who used to be a male,  Stephanie Anne Lloyd who used to be Keith Hull made the headlines with her sexchange too. With Stephanie's story the newspapers printed some form of untrue bizarre story regarding the events leading up to the sexchange. They stated that Keith has contracted a rare tropical disease and that the only cure was to take oestrogen and have a sexchange - how bizarre. Stephanie later reinvented herself and became the owner of the chain Transformation shops in the UK.

Another unusual story was Stephanie Robinson, who I first learned about through her modelling and her appearance in a TG magazine. Stephanie was particularly interesting as she did not fit the usual narative. The following is from Reuters

Stephenie Robinson, a British transgender police officer born Stephen, never felt like she was trapped in a wrong body and never dreamed of living life as a woman.

Robinson’s transition from man to woman began 35 years ago with one doctor’s diagnosis that the reason behind her unmanageable sex drive, suicide attempts, violent outbursts and occasional cross-dressing was simply because Robinson should have been female. 

Stephanie Robinson
The doctor proposed three treatment options to the then-26-year-old computer engineer: brain surgery, aversion therapy or female hormone treatment.

Desperate not to be sent back to a psychiatric hospital, Robinson decided to try female hormone therapy. The estrogen treatments addressed her psychosomatic issues, which ranged from hypersensitive skin to a violent temper that, at one point, prompted social services to threaten to take her children away. 

But Robinson was far from being overwhelmed with joy. 

Stephanie says, “The impact of estrogen taking is that you will feminize and there’s no way out of that.”

Stephanie's book A Light in the Dark can be purchased through Amazon.com

Cheryl Sussex today
I myself have been feminized to a certain degree and have used estrogen to bring about an inner peace. Which has its own problems in its self. I have written many times about my oestrogen use here and here for example. 

One of the sites that I always like to promote is CrossDreamLife which is a friendly forum for gender questioning people. The forum is also a good support centre for those who can't transition as it's simple not an option in their lives. There are plenty of case studies on there from others who experience cross dreaming. Cross dreaming describes the thoughts and feelings of the desire to express the inner woman. Many have found peace and a 'solution' to their situation.

Another event in my life was to explore all of the transgender feminisation fantasies out there through the medium of video. Tranisa was formed almost 10 years ago and introduced us to the fantasies previously reserved only for print, TG Captions and stories found on the net. It was difficult to move fantasy to film as when filming you are presented by the walls of reality all around you, however our actresses really got into the stories and made it real for the viewer, no matter how outrageous the story. I even appeared myself as a male who is feminized in the story, this was usually when the booked male actor got cold feet and didn't show up for filming.

So at the beginning of this blog entry I said I have come full circle with my view on gender, as I now feel like I did as a child that we are all the same, and that gender does not really matter. Male and females are the same, I know in reality men and women are very different, but to aid my sanity I have decided that we are all the same. We can be who we want and we can express who we want to be, subject to confidence and social situation.

As previously said I have feminized myself to a certain degree. This has probably influenced my thinking somewhat. Before using estrogen I really could not see the wood from the trees. Everything was quite a mess in my head. However as I previously have stated in blog postings I have 'yo-yoed' on and off hormones over the years which I know is not good for me, but they seem to be the only thing that genuinely helps me.

Take care everyone.....

Cheryl x