TIFF 2018: I’m Still Boycotting Girl

Viktor Polster in Lukas Dhont's Girl. Courtesy of Festival de Cannes.

A cisgender male director, Lukas Dhont, directs a cisgender male, Victor Polster, in an attempt to depict the transgender experience in Girl.

I had a sigh of relief going into the morning in which the final TIFF films were announced.  Then I cringed.  This is because of yet another film starring a cisgender male as a transgender film.  It had been selected to screen during TIFF and I could not be angrier.

As I arrived to pick up my selected press tickets, I had to deal with the images of a cisgender male portraying a transgender woman in the hotel.  Suffice it to say, I was angry at the sight.  I had no intentions then nor do I with regards to Girl.  Consider this a non-review if you will.

I said it during my interview with Jake Coyle of the Associate Press but I will never watch this film.  It’s already selected as the Belgian foreign language entry for the Oscars so I know it will be inevitable for Netflix to send an awards screener.  I’ll say it again: my boycott of this film remains firm.

When I was on the ground, some of my fellow film critics asked me if I would be watching Girl.  I understand the need for wanting transgender film critics to chime in.  At the same time, I’d prefer those films that actually cast transgender actors in trans or cis roles.  Like The Sisters Brothers and Colette, for example!

According to my knowledge, there were at least three transgender film critics on the ground in Toronto.  I know that two of us did not watch the film during the festival.

I don’t know about the others but I never will.

Girl held its Canadian premiere during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival in the Contemporary World Cinema program.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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