A plucky Filipino transsexual hopes porn and prostitution will form a gateway to international travel and true love.
A plucky Filipino transsexual hopes porn and prostitution will form a gateway to international travel and true love in “The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela.” Shot digitally and semi-improvised, likeable if rambling first feature by Icelandic helmer Olaf de Fleur Johannesson (“Africa United”) evinces the helmer’s background in documaking, and reps a kind of quasi-doc itself with real-life trannies riffing on their own personas. Pic took top feature prize at the Berlinale’s Teddy Awards and should globetrot around gay fests.Raquela (Raquela Rios), a “lady boy” who’s not yet had full gender reassignment surgery, works as a prostitute in a Filipino city. An avid chatroom user, she hopes to find a foreign husband who will fly her overseas. She’s drawn into the world of Internet pornography via Michael (Stefan Schaefer), a sleazy Yank pornmeister, who suggests a meeting in Paris, but first Raquela journeys to Iceland to earn cash in a fish factory. Although pic doesn’t shy away from the dangers of its heroine’s lifestyle, all ends happily enough, making for a kind of gritty fairy tale. Lensing pushes the limits of pic’s low budget.