| Our Rating:
L Factor: Gender Bender
Short Take: Romance while transitioning
Alternate Titles: Romeos …anders als du denkst!
Duration: 94 min
MPAA: Not Rated
|Director: Sabine Bernardi
Writer: Sabine Bernardi
Starring: Rick Okon, Maximilian Befort, Liv Lisa Fries, Felix Brocke, Silke Geertz, Gilles Tschudi, Sigrid Burkholder, Johannes Schwab, Tessa Lukat, Ben Gageik, Katrin Heß, Mira H. Benser, Lilli Lorenz, Julia Schafle, Juliane Knoppek
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A pleasant surprise on the film festival circuit for me this year was Romeos, the story of Lukas (Rick Okon), who is transitioning from female to male. I think it is the first film in which I’ve really been allowed inside the head of a FTM character to better understand what makes him tick.
Twenty-year-old Lukas is taking testosterone but has not yet had surgery. He is assigned to the girl’s dorm, which is a problem he just has to live with, and the girls think he is there because they’ve run out of room in the boy’s dorm. We see him lifting weights, measuring everything, injecting the testosterone, binding his chest, and wearing a prosthetic penis in his pants.
Things seem to be going ok when he meets Fabio (Maximilian Befort), a very sexy, masculine gay man. There is a mutual attraction that finally comes to a head when it is revealed that Lukas is not yet physically a guy. This film about identity shows character growth in both, as Lukas deals with a growing sense of being a gay man, and Fabio grows up to care not just about sex, but a relationship with someone who defies easy categorization.
The film doesn’t shy away from controversy, but hits it head on. In particular, Lukas is friends with Ine (Liv Lisa Fries), who knew him when he was a lesbian. She becomes hostile when she finds out that he is with Fabio, wondering why Lukas just didn’t become a straight woman rather than a gay man. This is used as an opportunity to address the difference between sexual orientation and sexual identity. (AB)