Starring: Elz Carrad, Arlo Green, Awhina-Rose Ashby,Kirk Torrance
A transgender New Zealander attempts to re-establish relationships with his widowed father and friends after a decade away in this eloquent, affecting and timely examination of identity, acceptance and forgiveness.
Caz (Carrad) is the Trans activist returning to the hometown to recharge after freezing up at an Auckland speaking engagement. On his arrival in Rurangi, Caz, who hasn’t been home since he transitioned, awkwardly introduces himself as ‘Gerald’s kid’. Although initially surprised about the change, the townspeople he encounters are broadly supportive and empathetic, most notably and most hearteningly Caz’s ex-boyfriend, the shy and unassuming Jem (the excellent Green). His father (Torrance) proves slightly more resistant.
Using genuine transgender actors, this is sensitively-played and genuinely illuminating look at the Trans experience which eschews the cliché of small-town intolerance, while economically offering up keen observations on the nature of identity and the ebb and flow of discourse. A Maori writer observes that ‘Once we were made of feel ashamed to speak Maori, now we’re ashamed not to.’ During a car journey, a local radio phone-in can be heard in which an eighty-year-old caller complains about having to change how she pronounces the name of her hometown before receiving pushback from the liberal host. The only misstep is the contrived and slightly pat climax set at an inhospitable town hall meeting. Otherwise this is an affecting and valuable document of marginalized communities.
Rurangi is released on 25th February
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