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.

The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela

Iceland

Production

A Poppoli Pictures production. (International sales: Deckert Distribution, Leipzig, Germany.) Produced by Arlen Cuevas, Olaf de Fleur Johannesson, Stefan Schaefer, Helgi Sverrisson. Executive producer, Baltasar Kormakur. Directed, written by Olaf de Fleur Johannesson.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W, HD, widescreen), Butch Maddul; editors, Dagur Kari, de Fleur Johannesson; music, Pavel E. Smid. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 10, 2008. (Also in SXSW Film Festival -- Emerging Visions.) English, Filipino, Icelandic dialogue. Running time: 79 MIN.

With

Raquela Rios, Stefan Schaefer, Brax Villa, Olivia Galudo, Valerie Grand Einarsson, May Rosaria, Markus Kalberer, Alexis Yap.

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