Alain Berliner's Ma Vie En Rose
I watched the foreign film Ma Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink), a Belgian film by filmmaker Alain Berliner. It is a warm, startling, funny, and realistic study of what happens when a seven-year-old boy is convinced, beyond all reason and outward evidence to the contrary, that he is really a girl. His certitude is astonishing in one so little, and his gender conviction is so strong that his belief can't be laughed away as the result of a “phase” or an “active imagination.” Yet the crux of Ma Vie en Rose is not a study of trans-gendered children per se, despite the fact that such sensational subject matter would seem to be surefire material for attention-grabbing moviemaking. You're never even quite certain about the long-term psychological ramifications of young Ludovic's obsession: Is he trans-gendered, a transvestite, gay, or straight? Such determinations are not the movie's concern. What Ma Vie en Rose is interested in is what it means to be a “difficult” child, a child who whose difference always sets him apart, and what it means to be the parents of such a child. Here we see some cultural differences with the characters.
Ludovic's parents, Hanna and Pierre, are amazingly tolerant of their seven-year-old's irresistible desire to dress in skirts, even though they try to reason with him to behave otherwise. Though there were moments when the child’s parents about lost it, they were amazingly tolerable to his desires and still managed to keep that family unity, something I am not so sure would go over well in an American setting where boys play baseball and girls play dress up. However, noting the obvious differences, the film does share similarities that we might overlook. The film takes place in Belgium, where the “geographically-challenged” individual might think of tiny country villages, on the contrary however; the viewer finds that the suburbia that creates the story is remarkably similar to the American counterpart. Let us not forget the characters too. I noticed that during the subtitled film that you could basically figure out what the characters were saying just by their tone. Much of the conversations and speeches were similar, if not exact, to American cultured speech minus the English tongue.
When Ludovic starts spinning elaborate and fantastic stories about how he really is a girl and how he wants to marry his playmate Jerome when he grows up, his actions begin to generate more serious adult concern. It doesn't help matters that Jerome's father is also Pierre's boss, thus after the two boys are discovered in the midst of a mock wedding ceremony, all hell starts to...