Please, I don't want to dance

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After the cinema yesterday evening, I entered a gay bar with some friends. I never go to gay bars – or any bars, except in cinemas. I get anxious in crowded rooms of strangers, where alcohol is flowing and the music is slightly deafening. Like Alicia Vikander's cyborg in Ex Machina , I feel vulnerable in my artificiality. In the gay bar we were oka...
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What's On?

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What's On? There's only one Oscar favourite I haven't watched so far, the based-on-true events I, Tonya . I remember the original attack on the skater Nancy Kerrigan, and how her rival Tonya Harding was later implicated in the attack (specifically, Harding was found guilty of conspiring to hinder the prosecution). I don't know what Nancy Kerrigan i...
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Identity Politics

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Identity Politics Sunday morning, I dropped £1 into the empty cardboard cup of a homeless person while the snow fell around us. It's the first time I've done such a thing in a while. It didn't make me feel good, it felt like a drop in the ocean. Earlier this week, the staff of my university went on strike. At one point, a picketing staff membe...
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A Fantastic Woman

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It's the most talked about trans movie since the problematic The Danish Girl  (2016), but A Fantastic Woman already has superior foundations through its casting and plot. Unlike Eddie Redmayne's depiction of Lili Elbe, the predicament of trans actress Daniela Vega's three-dimensional Marina does not involve a reason or fateful spark to ex...
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The Square

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The Square The trailer made this film fascinating; the two and a half hour cinema experience was a different, restless kettle of fish. The Square is an interesting if overly-long exploration of the managed edginess of a Copenhagen museum exhibition, and how its control – specifically the curator's control – pales to the weird fucked-upnes...
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Anamorphosis

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Anamorphosis On Thursday I went to a public speaking contest where I watched my flatmate get first prize. I was late, turning up in the dinner break, with everyone milling around me, chatting excitedly about talks I hadn't witnessed. I drifted wordlessly, in a gentle trauma where I couldn't articulate anything. I found a friend I hadn't talked to i...
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Lady Bird

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Lady Bird It covers the ground many trans women can't talk about, myself included, and I was reluctant to watch this film, and confront a past narrative that I'll sadly never share. Lady Bird is a coming-of-age movie in which Saoirse Ronan's Christine – aka self-styled Lady Bird – experiences the travails of her senior high school year, with boys a...
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What's On?

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What's On? Wales are playing Ireland in rugby today. I know this is off script for an article that usually focuses on cinema, but occasionally my Welshness gets stirred. Rugby is not the best game in the world. If your team sucks, then there's nothing more demoralizing than watching them get physically overpowered, and as if to stem the flow, commi...
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Black Panther

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Black Panther If Superman were black, would the narrative be different? Like President Obama trying to get things done against a hostile senate, would Superman face resistance and conspiracy theories from Donald Trump, if he were from an inner-city African-American community? Would he still be seen as protector of the people, or threat? These were ...
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The Shape of Water

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The Shape of Water The protagonist doesn't speak, and neither does the one she loves. Her confidante is a single man in late middle age, struggling in vain for work. These are not the heroes you expect, the violence that punctuates the film isn't there to make you swoon in awe. The Shape of Water isn't a movie whose like you will have seen before, ...
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A Shop I Used To Know

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A Shop I Used To Know When you're six foot tall and trans-female, entering a women's clothes shop isn't like entering a cinema or a newsagent's. In M&S, the women seem so small – maybe it's the age of the average customer there? – that you can't help but stand out by comparison, even though it's got easier than it used to, from an emotional poi...
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Walk With Me

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Walk With Me It was during this film that I came up with the term chomper to describe the way such entertainments make me feel. Some forty minutes into this documentary (or was it thirty minutes, or twenty, or ten?), I felt myself become drowsy. Silently, and yet in a feverish desperation, I sought out the chewing gum in my bag that would help...
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What's On?

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What's On? Why would I go to the cinema at 12.45 on a Saturday? This weekend sees the calm before the storm, with next week's Black Panther as well as the trans movie A Fantastic Woman both poised for release on Tuesday, already like the gentlest rumble of thunder on my horizon. There are no films I want to watch this weekend, but at Cameo cinema t...
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What's On?

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What's On? The Super Bowl is on tonight. Shall I make a prediction? How about this one: due to the NFL's attempts over the past decade to cover up the brain injuries of its players, more ex-players will die from suicide this coming year. Don't get me wrong: I love American football. I even think that qualifies me to critique it, as a fan. But if th...
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At the Dentist's

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At the Dentist's The dentist's chair is a place of tension for me. In childhood I never cared about my teeth and saw dentists as my nemesis. Then one day in early adolescence I fell as I was getting off my school bus and smashed a front tooth. It got fixed but I'm permanently insecure about breaking it once more. Then last summer, after nearly...
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Bad Education by Pedro Almodovar

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Bad Education by Pedro Almodovar Mention director Pedro Almodovar and it's hard not to think of depictions of women and the LGBT community that are sensitive, sympathetic, and ultimately uplifting. All these virtues are captured in Almodovar's most famous work, All About My Mother (1999), with its representation of two trans female prostitutes. Agr...
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The Post

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The Post A shady US President trying to undermine the media, is all you need to know about this film to see it hits the zeitgeist. Like the Oscar-winning Spotlight (2016), it's a tale of newsrooms and investigative reporting serving as a crucial pillar of democracy. Like Spotlight too, it's a heavyweight ensemble, Spielberg behind the len...
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George Monbiot: How Did We Get Into This Mess?

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George Monbiot: How Did We Get Into This Mess? The raison d'etre of this collection of essays comes in the final chapter in a book looking for answers as to the state of the world today: In the United States, blue-collar workers angrily demand that they be left without health care, and insist that millionaires should pay less tax . . . What has hap...
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In tribute to Laura Jane Grace

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In tribute to Laura Jane Grace Back then, circa 2008, it's Tom Gabel singing to an acoustic set with their band. The song, called The Ocean , twists and turns melodically, the voice is straining passionately. The song is fucking good already, If I could have chosen where God would hide his heaven I'd wish for it to be the salt and swell of the ocea...
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Naomi Klein: No Is Not Enough

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Naomi Klein: No Is Not Enough I've been taking in books instead of movies, recently quite political ones, Christmas treats that I got for myself and am working through. Finally, I have something I want to write about. Naomi Klein's No Is Not Enough is the one book I'd recommend to anyone. It's a brilliant deconstruction of Trump and his P...
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