Hot Docs 2020 (Online): Our Review of ‘Always Amber’

Hot Docs 2020 (Online): Our Review of ‘Always Amber’

It is quite easy to underestimate this film since it features its main subject, Amber, moping in her bedroom because of their relationship status. Amber find their longtime partner, Sebastian, in love with both then and their brother Charlie. They decide to cut of contact with both since they prefer to be monogamous with Sebastian. Cue the shots of Amber’s cat, the only being loyal to them at that moment. But this documentary captures the intensity of those emotions in a refreshing way. It depicts four years in the life of a non-binary person, whose relationships are unfolding both in real life and online. The separation has a different level because of their gender since both will not be there when they start changing their appearance. The online dimension is also a great addition, since that is where they show how they want to present themselves to the world.

There are also scenes here where Amber must consult with a doctor to get an official diagnosis of gender dysphoria. They need that diagnosis to get the surgery they want. And there is a heartwarming spirit to these conversations, where Amber admits that they want the surgery to evade the male gaze. The directors shoot those scenes with a combination of polish and rawness. They also hand over the camera to Amber to add a spirit that is as authentic as they are. They live in northern Sweden and they meet Olivera, a trans DJ from the south. The scenes that Amber shoots show their displays of love for Olivera. Their apartment, then, serves a sanctuary that makes the audience forget that there is a world outside that might not understand them. It is nice to see Amber find someone in a future that liberals want and have dreamed of.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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