Boys Don’t Cry
今回の留学で最後の授業内プレゼンテーションに選んだのがこの映画Boys Don’t Cry (1999)。
主人公のBrandon Teenaは実在した人物。性同一性障害を抱えている。肉体は女性、アイデンティティは男性という組み合わせだ。それ自体は、今やqueer studiesなどの分野でいろいろと議論が重ねられているので目新しくはない。
ところが、Brandon Teenaはあえて小さな田舎町で生きることを選んだ。いわゆるwhite trushと呼ばれる白人の貧しい労働階級の人々が多く住むFalls Cityのような田舎町では性同一性障害どころかゲイやレズビアンでさえも、一般の人間からは理解は得られにくい。それどころか嫌悪や憎しみの対象となりやすい。肉体的に女性であることを隠しながら、小さな田舎町で男として生きていこうとしたBrandon Teenaだったが、途中で身元がわれてしまい、男仲間達にレイプされた後、ほどなく銃で撃たれて殺される。はっきり言って痛々しい人生のあり方である。
一冊は、学術的なアプローチではないものを選んだ。Brandon Teenaと同じFTM(Female to Male Transsexual)である人物Mark Reesの自伝Dear Sir or Madamだ。僕らには想像がつかないような生活上の困難や、彼らの具体的な心の動きを少しでも把握してみたいと考えたからだ。
Boys Don’t Cry (1999)( metacritic.com )
BOYS DON’T CRY BY ROGER EBERT
■ “I am a man trapped in a woman’s body.”
Its motto instead could be, “Girls just wanna have fun.”
■She is not a transsexual, a lesbian, a cross-dresser, or a member of any other category on the laundry list of sexual identities; she is a girl who thinks of herself as a boy
, and when she leaves Lincoln, Neb., and moves to the town of Falls City in 1993, that is how she presents herself
■we see the two men later charged with Brandon’s rape and, after the local law authorities didn’t act seriously on that charge
, murder a few days later.
■”Boys Don’t Cry” is not sociology, however, but a romantic tragedy–a “Romeo and Juliet” set in a Nebraska trailer park.
■There is a reason country music is sad. Into this wasteland, which is all Lana knows, comes Brandon, who brings her a flower.
■There is a stretch when she knows, and yet she doesn’t know, because she doesn’t want to know; romance is built on illusion
, and when we love someone, we love the illusion they have created for us.
■she doesn’t underline the stupidity of the local law-enforcement officials
because that’s not necessary; she sees Tom and John not as simple killers but as the instruments of deep ignorance and inherited anti-social pathology. (Tom knows he’s trouble; he holds his hand in a flame and then cuts himself, explaining, “This helps control the thing inside of me so I don’t snap out at people.
■The docudrama may be the key dramatic form of the 90s because of the extent to which its simplifications influence the way we make sense of the world around us. Not that we didn’t already have a habit of simplifying and therefore fictionalizing facts.
■The propagandizing is obvious in the Teena Brandon movie, Boys Don’t Cry, where practically everything we see and hear conspires to feed our outrage at the sexual intolerance of other characters in the story.
■Yet the Boys Don’t Cry press book doesn’t say a thing about what details in the movie had to be fictionalized or why
. I assume legalities must have played some role in the changes, but making the profile easy to digest for purposes of agitprop must also have been a factor.
■Why else exclude fascinating (if emotionally confusing) material from Jones’s book such as the fact that Teena tried to enlist in the army to take part in Operation Desert Storm
but failed the entrance exams or that after Teena’s murder her mother set up a fund to get her child a headstone and “some [transgender or gay activists] were willing to help out, but not if the headstone read Teena Brandon…. For them, Brandon Teena was a latter-day Joan of Arc.” And why else exclude such distracting information as the fact that one of two other people killed along with Teena Brandon was Phillip DeVine, a black man with an artificial leg
who was involved with the sister of Teena’s girlfriend (another omitted character)?
■the movie is as much about working-class life as it is about sexuality
, which complicates its social message: one might emerge from it screaming for the blood of rednecks as well as weeping for some of their victims.
■One of the most shocking parts of the film is the interrogation of Teena Brandon by a sheriff after she was raped, much of which comes verbatim from the recorded interrogation of Brandon by Sheriff Charles Laux. Certainly more than one of the yokels in this story deserves our undying contempt.
Identity crisis:Boys Don’t Cry, unless he’s a she in this heart-wrenching true tale
BY ZAC CRAIN
■Take away the beginning and the end, and the film reveals Brandon’s double life
rather matter-of-factly, during a midnight run to a convenience store to pocket a handful of feminine products and a casual, almost offhanded glimpse of Teena’s morning ritual
of tightly wrapping her breasts with an Ace bandage.
■Strangely, while Brandon is from the slightly more metropolitan city of Lincoln
and the rest of the cast is supposedly born and raised in the dusty Nebraska town of Falls City
■that’s what Brandon’s supposed to be doing, awkwardly learning to be a man after 20 years of living as a woman
. Boys Don’t Cry throws you right into the middle of the process
■It isn’t long before he’s trying out his act at a Lincoln
roller rink and a seedy road house, picking up girls and picking fights. Brandon isn’t just a man; he’s a man’s man
— a hard-drinking, bar-brawling skirt chaser.
■ Brandon wakes up in Falls City and creates a new history for himself, as well as a new future, one that doesn’t include his recent arrest for grand theft auto
. But he tries a bit too hard, smiling too eagerly and broadly
in his attempt to fit in. And he picks the wrong role model
right away: Lotter, the kind of likable troublemaker every small town possesses. Lotter is deathly afraid of going back to the joint, yet not frightened enough to stop him from stealing cars or encouraging Brandon to try to outrun the cops instead of pulling to the side of the road
■It isn’t at all surprising that Brandon is able to fit in with his new friends so quickly and easily. He’s like Evel Knievel’s puppy: cute and willing to do anything at any time, whether it’s bucking on the bumper of a truck like a bronco rider to impress his buddies
or shoplifting a chintzy ring to score points with a girl. To a circle of friends consisting of ex-cons and bored factory workers, Brandon offers hope of escape with his plans to head out on the open road
for Alaska or “Memphis, Graceland, and Tennessee,” and with his tales of his fictional sister, who’s a model in Hollywood.
■Of course, until he hitched a ride to Falls City, Brandon had never left Lincoln.
■And in many ways, Boys Don’t Cry is as much Lana’s story as Brandon’s, lingering over the depressing details of her home life and the cheap-high thrills of her and her friends, as they numb themselves in almost every scene with everything from bongs and bourbon to aerosol cans…She just wants someone to love her, and more important, pay attention to her
A powerful drama of sexual identity
■Set along the Midwest underbelly, “Boys Don’t Cry” begins with the visual surge of hyperactivity of an ’80s rock soundtrack
■ The first 40 minutes are a comedy with Teena living life as a challenge to the conventions of masculinity
, not so much as a political statement as a biological one.
■Swank makes it clear why women would fall for a guy like Teena. He’s Don Juan with delinquent undertones, addicted to seeing if he can fool girls into loving him. His dashing flamboyance makes up for what he lacks in real machismo
■a criminal past and an unearthed feminine-hygiene product signify betrayal and plant murder
in the minds of Tom and John
‘Boys Don’t Cry’: Larger Than Life, but Far, Far Away
■The viewer is easily caught up in the exhilaration of the former Teena, who moves from Lincoln, Neb., to the small town of Falls City, so her new persona as Brandon can be given free reign
■In a story too strange to be fiction, Brandon falls into a complicated new family
. At its heart is Lana (Ms. Sevigny), who lives with her dissolute mother and has a proprietary old boyfriend, John Lotter (Peter Sarsgaard), still lurking around the house. Having already taken up with Lana’s friend Candace (Alicia Goranson), Brandon fits in reasonably well as part of this extended family
. But to John and his equally macho friend Tom
, who are part of the town’s group of “wall people” (named for loitering against the wall of the local Quik Stop), Brandon is a threat
‘Boys Don’t Cry’: A Tragedy Torn From the Heartland By Stephen Hunter
■The movie follows the melancholy vector of Teena Brandon, 1971-1993
. Teena, a live-wire Nebraskan with proclivities she herself did not fully understand, swaddled her breasts in Ace bandages, pulled on a pair of jeans and boots, threw on a cowboy hat, left Lincoln and hitched to the hinterlands
, reinventing herself as a wiry, rawboned, tough-talkin’, beer-swillin’ young fella named Brandon Teena.
■A petty crook (grand theft auto) and locally famous for her masquerades – they almost always get her beaten up or at least threatened with a thumping
– she ends up, one drunken evening, in Falls City, down in the southwest corner of the state, one of those mean, scabby towns that most movies usually see as places to leave. For Brandon, here at last is a place to stay
■Someone – presumably director Peirce – has a dead-on eye for rural blue-collar culture
Use Your Illusion by J. Hoberman
■Drifting around, Brandon (Hilary Swank) connects with a clan of dissolute bad-boys and their dissatisfied girlfriends
, some with babies and most working the late shift
. A happy, polite, androgynous little bantam who pals with the guys
, appreciates the girls, and is inexplicably drawn to their kids, Brandon is living in low-rent wonderland.
■The world is presented through Brandon’s reborn eyes. Viewed with a mixture of desire and empathy
, the girls are lush, soft, and delightfully clueless.
■From Lana’s perspective, the hot but solicitous Brandon is a new sort of man.
Boys Don’t Cry strongly (and reasonably) suggests that, on some barely unconscious level, Lana knows that her dream lover is female and doesn’t care
. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Brandon has had to solve many technical problems・tampon consumption not the least・but there’s an undeniable grandeur to Lana’s absolute denial
■The reality principle finally intrudes when Brandon is busted as a result of an old speeding ticket.
The scene in which Lana bails him out of jail・ignoring his feeble explanation for having been locked up in the women’s cell・is one of the movie’s few daytime occurrences.
■For Lana, the true Brandon lives by night. He has not only reconfigured gender but reinvented the sex act just for them.
Radically disturbing, ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ is a bold cautionary tale By PAULA NECHAK
■She asks because she has just learned the boy of her dreams is really a young woman named Teena Ray Brandon
■Teena Ray Brandon, who became a gay icon after her 1993 death
. As a graduate thesis, Peirce wrote a script based on Brandon’s last days, focusing on the less iconic and more humane aspects of this young teenager from Lincoln, Neb.
■What emerged was the idea that Brandon was an imaginative, capricious, danger-loving character who had committed petty theft but was, according to the women he befriended, “a perfect gentleman
,” “so cute
” and a guy who “knew how a woman wants to be treated.”
■Rather than producing a true-crime thriller, she’s taken on gender, class, sexual identity and cultural — as well as political
A Heartland Tragedy Swank’s superb acting at center of gripping `Boys’
■almost nothing prepares the viewer for the shock of what happens, even in the film’s superbly delineated “white trash” world
shaded by a sense of desperation.
■In her scruffy southeastern Nebraska lowlifes, the luckless and forlorn bravado of cowboy culture is distorted by modern America
. A feeling of isolation and menace wraps dark irony around the very meaning of “heartland.”
■Teena had agonizing longings to be free of femaleness
■The title is entirely ironic, because nobody could sit through this film without crying, even if on the inside.