Sergio Toledo’s first feature, from Brazil, describes the life and experiences of a fierce tomboy, Vera (Ana Beatriz Noguieira), who wants to be a man. Coming from a difficult boarding school background, she forms a relationship with a beautiful young woman named Clara, and her intense desire to be treated like a man leads her to consider a sex change operation. A brutual depiction of sexual conditioning, but as a treatment of gender confusion it’s questionable whether this has much more to say about the subject than the treatment of Linda Manz’s character in Dennis Hopper’s Out of the Blue; despite a liberal orientation, it’s surely no less bleak and defeatist. (JR)

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