What would you do if your only child was a hermaphrodite? Would you let this anomaly of nature lie or would you welcome the intervention of major surgery? This is the dilemma at the centre of Argentinean screenwriter Lucía Puenzo’s directorial debut. 15 year-old Alex (Inés Efron, a revelation) possesses both male and female sexual organs. Her liberal parents (Ricardo Darin and Valeria Bertuccelli) have moved to a remote seaside area so Alex can avoid any potential bullies at her school in Buenos Aires. A visit from a surgeon friend Ramiro (Germán Palacios) and his family raises the question of what is to be done with a girl/boy like Alex.
Adapted from a short story Cinismo by successful Argentine writer Sergio Bizzio, XXY is a subtle dissection of family dynamics when challenged by such a rare biological dichotomy. Deliberately underwritten to slowly reveal the portrait of a family exhausted by nature’s ability to make them exiles from their own society, XXY is a slow, challenging but ultimately satisfying chamber piece. Is the need to be sexually registered more important than accepting a life of ambiguity? Recommended.
GFT, Glasgow, Fri 9–Thu 15 May; Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Fri 16–Thu 22 May.