Madalena (2021)

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A worthy but meandering elegy to the many transgender people murdered in Brazil, the highest per capita in the world, according to the end credits.

A quiet contemplative meditation, we move through the lush, green nature of rural Brazil, watching rhea forage through fields of soy, eventually seeing a glimpse of a body, dressed in white, abandoned in the field. This, it seems, is the eponymous Madalena, although we never get more than a glimpse of her spectral presence throughout the film.

For a while we follow Luzi (Natália Mazarim), an erstwhile friend of Madalena as she goes about her day, eventually discovering that Madalena is missing. Then we follow Cristiano (Rafael De Bona), son of the family who owns the soy field, more worried about the impact on the reputation of his family than the humanity of the broken person in his field. And then we follow a group of transgender friends of Madalena as they pack up her belongings and trek back into nature to mourn her.

And that’s pretty much it. There’s the statistic over the closing credits but it seems to be a story about being transgender in Brazil with a sense of absence of the main character. I suspect this is a point being made but it felt a little empty.

Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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