Sebastián Lelio’s Oscar-nominated, Berlinale-winning A Fantastic Woman is a compelling tale of endurance, love, loss and resistance driven by a stand-out, debut performance from Chilean actor Daniela Vega, who is the trans-woman that drives this enthralling story, nominated in the Best Foreign Film category by the Academy. When Marina (Vega) suddenly loses Orlando, her lover and friend twenty years her senior, her identity as a trans-woman sees her ostracised from the family, shut-out of Orlando’s funeral and targeted with suspicion and contempt by the authorities. Pushing back against a community which views her existence as an aberration and a perversion, Orlando’s death reawakens an instinctive drive in Marina to assert herself as a complex, strong, forthright and fantastic woman.
Soaked in luminous visuals and peppered with elegant, surrealist flights of fancy, the film recalls the very best work of Pedro Almodóvar. At once richly beautiful and powerfully moving, Fantastic Woman is an urgent call for compassion towards a community that faces bigotry and hostility on a daily basis, and Daniela Vega is involved in a little piece of history, as one of two trans people involved in this year’s nominations – the other being trans filmmaker Yance Ford, nominated for his documentary Strong Island.
Marking the release of a brand new trailer, exclusively screening on Dazed, screenwriter Gonzalo Maza said: “When we decided to make a film about a transgender character, director Sebastian Lelio always knew a transgender actress would be the only way to follow. For Sebastian, films are also documentaries about actors portraying characters. So clearly the film is not only about Marina's experiences, but about Daniela's as well. Starting the research for writing the script we realized how ignorant we were about the transgender community, and also, how many misconceptions people had about them. We learnt they must be one of the minorities that suffers the most violent consequences of these misconceptions. Trans people are killed, and usually get killed by their lovers. So we were very clear that the film would be about getting the audience to have a better knowledge about them.”
A Fantastic Woman arrives in cinemas on 2nd March.