Markus Lindén: Regretters

I want to be seen, says one them. I want to be conventional, says the other. Both of them took a very unconventional decision, to change from being a man to being a woman. The title says that they have regretted that decision. The film tell their stories, with all the pain they have suffered, but also with warmth and humour. They are very different and that gives the film an extra dimension. You listen attentively every single minute, carried as the narrative is by dialogue. And that is where the decision of the filmmaker comes in with a strike of genius:

They walk into a studio, the two of them, they sit down, and they talk to each other, or to the camera, with small private and public archive material presented to show, how they looked in their childhood, in school, in their marriage (Isadora alias Orlando), all the way through accompanied by their own commentaries. Orlando has gone back to being a man again (got a penis and breast operation), Mikael (alias Mikaela) is waiting for the same operation.

Their stories have been told as a theatre play but when Mikael after hesitation agreed to take part, it was luckily made into this documentary that profits succesfully from the preciseness in the dialogue. Why do you want to have that penis operation back, says Orlando, can’t you just be you, you are a man. Orlando was married for 11 years, her husband knew nothing about her male past, it ended dramatically, now he is on his own, an extravagant feminine exhibitionist with clever remarks to Mikael, who also cleverly insists on being an orderly, ordinary citizen.

Talking faces are boring in documentary films… no they are not, look at these two brave human beings with all their experiences and wisdom. They walk out of the studio, a theatre of life has been performed.  

Sweden, 58 mins. 2010

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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