Human Rights Watch Festival 2019: Our Review Of ‘No Box For Me: An Intersex Story’

Human Rights Watch Festival 2019: Our Review Of ‘No Box For Me: An Intersex Story’

Time seems irrelevant for No Box For Me: An Intersex Story, since director Floriane Devigne has different concerns in mind. This is, after all, a documentary about intersex people, one of the groups that fit within the LGBTI umbrella. And people like us don’t have a schedule of when to come out, etc.

We have to do things in our own time. This movie’s main subject, Deborah, is a 25 year old intersex person from French Switzerland. She is out to many people, and here we see her meet people who are like her. There’s something innately joyful about intersex people applauding each other’s achievements.

Deborah’s one on one conversations with other individuals are equally insightful. One of these conversations is with a male-passing intersex person who talks about how his body changed after hormone therapy. Deborah relates to this as a person who also has to take hormones as a female-passing intersex person.

As good as the issues that this movie bring us, it doesn’t weave all of them in a tighter structure. It also introduces an epistolary relationship between Deborah and another intersex person named M who is in the closet. But that thread keeps disappearing so that the film can introduce more subjects.

The film also has a tendency to pit people against each other. One awkward conversation has Deborah comparing herself to pre-Apartheid black intersex person. These are the kind of conversations that the community doesn’t need right now, especially versions like this that lack some sensitivity.

But thankfully the doc recovers from those dips and show that Deborah and M are ‘just like us’. There’s even a youthful lightness to this hour long doc, which is an essential and breezy counterpoint in a festival that is going to have both heavy subject matter and tones.

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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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