Paloma is a transgender woman. He was born a he but is really a she. I know this LGBTQ stuff is getting complicated and politically correct. “He” “she” “they” “binary” “non-binary” etc. What ever happened to simply calling a person by their name but alas that has now become politically incorrect for many but not all.
Paloma is a hard-working transgender woman in a small Brazilian town. She has a child Jennifer who was given birth by a friend and surrogate mother from Paloma’s semen. She lives with José a construction worker. She is accepted in her small community if she plays by the rules. Paloma begins to dream about a church wedding with all the trimmings. It is a Barbie girl dream and it slams into the wall when the village priest refuses to marry Paloma and José as after all God only recognizes a union between a man and woman. The priest is sympathetic but can’t violate Papal edicts. Paloma writes the Pope and receives an answer that as devout as she is he will not approve the wedding. So the town priest connects Paloma with a “rogue priest” and alas a marriage takes place in the Catholic church.
But the press sniffs out a story and the marriage of this “transvestite” to a man creates an international story. The town is shamed being called a transvestite town. Paloma is harassed and José deserts her saying look at all the trouble Paloma has caused. Very weak writing here as only a dimwit could fail to apprehend a negative reaction to their union.
From some Brazilian LGBTQ films I have seen urban Brazil is more tolerant of the LGBTQ community but as witnessed in this film rural Brazil is not so tolerant. One can admire the strength of Paloma but the result seems sadly predictable. One can also easily criticize her for her blindness and misguided and childlike faith. The town priest notes with resignation the world has changed but the Catholic church lags behind.
The film may cause you to query where the world stands towards the LGBTQ movement. In Kenya, China, Russia and numerous other countries there is widespread hatred. In North America there is hatred, ambivalence and support. In rural Brazil there is hatred which can escalate to murderous hatred. Isn’t about time for acceptance as a minimum. I mean even at one point Paloma calls José a gutless faggot. So there are holes in the script but that does not deter the message being sent and received.
Kika Sena plays Paloma perfectly. In addition to being an actress she is an academic, art educator, poet and performer.
“Paloma” premiered at the Filmfest München on June 24th.
It is in Portuguese with English subtitles. It is directed by Marcelo Gomez.
RKS Film Rating 76/100.