Romeos

M_Rom250Romeos (2011)

Lukas is going through the biggest change in his whole life while he is in a new place meeting new people.  One of those new people is Fabio.  But are these Romeos fated to be together or will they suffer apart not knowing what could have been?

Synopsis from Amazon: “Lukas is a prisoner in his own body. As a pre-op transgendered person, he is constantly finding himself trapped in uncomfortable, compromising positions. His best friend, Ine introduces him to the gay scene in Cologne where he meets the confident and gorgeous, Fabio.”

The film starts with Lukas starting his civilian service, but being placed in the girls dorm instead of the boys.  It turns out that his friend Ine is there though so that makes it a little more bearable while things get sorted out.  His first night there involves going out to a party with Ine where he meets Fabio.

Romeos shows us the issues and complications that one faces being transgendered in a world where everyone just assumes things about your gender based on face-value presumptions.  It demonstrates the struggles of being transgender – it’s an important, candid depiction.  We see Lukas working out and measuring his body as it changes.  Before the party he worries that his jacket is too tight and might show something he doesn’t want to.  He has to explain being transgender to an ignorant administrator who insists on calling Lukas “her.”

sc_rom2One of the more poignant scenes is when Lukas is with friends at the beach.  Of course everyone is scantily clad in their bathing suits while Lukas has several layers on and is afraid to go in the water.  Just a simple experience of going to the beach becomes complicated.  Never mind the added difficulties of flirting or trying to learn more about someone while trying to hide part of who you are.

It’s interesting that the jacket is like a metaphor for security – for hiding.  In one of the first scenes between Lukas and Fabio, Fabio asks to try it on then runs away with it while Lukas chases him all over town after it.  Later in the film we see Lukas’ progress as the layers come off.

This is also a love story.  It’s complicated, but it’s about loving a person for who they are, not their gender.  Lukas pursues Fabio, but things get problematic when Fabio learns more about Lukas and it wasn’t what he was expecting. (Just for the record, I might have slapped the little girl too…)  Even as Fabio rejects Lukas you can see that it’s not what he wants to be doing in his heart.

Romeos also explores how the going through the process of gender reassignment can affect friendships.  It’s apparent that there was a rift between Lukas and Ine in the beginning – Lukas admits to having been “distant.”  Becoming a different person – the person who you should have been all along – takes a great deal of energy.  It can be an obsession for a time, and sometimes Lukas’ relationships don’t get the attention they need.

The struggles Lukas faces are ones that I think more people need to understand.  In a world where transgender civil rights and understanding are just starting to gain needed attention, I think this film does an admirable job of taking one man’s journey and making it relatable and understandable.

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Availability:
TLA: DVD
Amazon: Streaming

 

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