What's On? 19/01/17
Nothing fills me with foreboding like the release of a film with a cross-dressing male. My experience is they're usually psychopaths (literally: Psycho, 1960) or some similarly unhinged murderer, like in Dressed to Kill (1980) or Silence of the Lambs (1991). No less uncomfortable are the films that play it for laughs (Some Like It Hot, 1959; Tootsie, 1982), or the ones that try to 'understand' transsexuality, most famously the dreadful Danish Girl (2015). And now on the horizon is James McAvoy in Split, about a man with multiple personalities. I've seen the trailer and it's spooky as fuck, especially the scene with young girls locked in some kind of cellar, and they can see a woman (or someone in heels and a skirt) chopping away in the kitchen, who comes over to them, and it's a shaven-headed James McAvoy with a 'female' persona.
Do I give it a chance? I think the two most awkward moments in the cinema are when a 'psycho' scene 'in drag' actually happens – when you're wondering if anyone's looking at you – and when the film ends and you're leaving the screening room, hoping people aren't flinching as they notice you. Do people wonder in those situations, 'why is that trans person here, watching 'trans-psychos' on the screen? Don't they get uncomfortable? Are they getting ideas?
Do I pay £8 at Cameo cinema to put myself through this range of insecurities? Or do I go to watch the much-heralded Manchester By the Sea? Or even Silence, about missionaries and the possible absence of God. I wonder if such a film is as difficult for religious people to watch. I spoke to a Christian the other day about whether she'd go and watch it, and she made a pained face, saying Hollywood's track record on films about religion doesn't fill her with hope. I wonder if everyone has a certain kind of film that makes them uncomfortable? Well, we have plenty of selection; perhaps Split is the kind of film you watch alone on TV (if you're trans).It would be remiss of me not to highlight the showing of Ghost in the Shell next Wednesday at the Cameo. I've seen a bit of it before, a quite hypnotic piece of anime about cyborgs and identity, and it's the one most on my radar this coming week. I would have no problem leaving a cinema with whispers in my trail, 'Was that a cyborg?' This is trans-related identity I'm happy for people to assume about me, as I go glistening into the night to other worlds, far, far away.