Film review of ‘dusk’

Yet another thread that Threadreaderapp refused to roll out. It’s from June 2019.

Last week I went to Queerbee, a shorts film night showcasing queer work. One of the films shown was Jake Graf’s short film ‘Dusk’ and there was a Q&A after. ‘Dusk’ is a well acted, directed and gripping drama, albeit with a bit of hammy dialogue at times.

The final denouement had a real emotional punch which left me feeling unsettled, for my own personal reasons, but also because of the context. Spoiler alert: It revolves around an elderly woman looking back on her life (we finally learn ‘he’ is a transman) and her wife.

So at first we are essentially introduced to a lesbian couple until the final ‘show’, and the old lady (played really superbly) has never had the courage to realise ‘his’ actual reality, but has had the benefit of a soulmate throughout ‘his’ life.

What unsettled me though was that having a regret about not having taken testosterone nor had surgery, is nothing in comparison to a life realising that you were in fact always perfect. The film was very manipulative in that the sense of regret was almost overwhelming.

During the Q&A it was asked by an audience member whether it was okay for ‘cis’ people to make films about ‘trans’ peoples’ lives, and Graft answered that as long as artists researched and were doing it from a place of authenticity it was fine (although no doubt Graf disapproves of people holding well researched critical views of transgenderism).

Then there was also the conundrum of the subject of the film itself. If a transman doesn’t transition, then are they still a transman?

Graf clearly thinks so, but ultimately the film is about two women, otherwise what would be the point of a transition if one could still be a man whilst being a woman? I also wondered to what extent the whole story was an effort to validate the missus (who was in the audience and had a sort of ephemeral smile on his face).

For all that Graf is a talented film maker. The next project is a feature length film about a transman who fathers a baby ….