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Hermaphrodite

Pic lacks in impact what it has in novelty.

Cast:
With: Marilu Acosta, Garibaldi Reyes, Isabel Polanco, Olga Bucarelli, Henssy Pichardo, Rafa Rosario, Amarfis Aquino, Daniel Acosta.

Laying claim to being the first film from the Dominican Republic in widescreen 35mm — and surely the first from the island nation about a woman born with male and female sexual organs — “Hermaphrodite” lacks in impact what it has in novelty. Director and co-writer Albert Xavier mixes a rudimentary style with overly complicated storytelling to unsubtly deliver the near-tragedy of Maria (Marilu Acosta), as she deals with the reactions of relatives and lovers to her condition. Commercial forecast is dim, save gay fest visits.

An avalanche of flashbacks lays it on thick about Maria’s unfortunate childhood and a chain of inevitable rejections by supposed loved ones, while distracting from the central story of her trying to maintain a platonic relationship with city guy Molasses (Garibaldi Reyes) in the farm town of San Jose de Ocoa. That streetwise and sexually randy Molasses doesn’t manage to discover Maria’s sexual identity until near the end of the film beggars belief — just one sign of an undercooked screenplay. Acting, on the other hand, is overcooked.

Hermaphrodite

Dominican Republic

Production: A Belier Entertainment presentation. Produced by Amarfi Peralia Dominguez. Executive producers, Albert Xavier, Yuk-kit Yuen. Directed by Albert Xavier. Screenplay, Xavier, Sheila Gruillon; story, Fernando Santos Diaz.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color, Panavision widescreen), Elias Acosta; editor, Adiel Skarmetta; music, Michael Lengies; production designer, Samuel Taribio; costume designer, Yadira Sanchez. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, Sept. 1, 2010. (In Los Angeles Latino Film Festival.) Running time: 82 MIN.

With: With: Marilu Acosta, Garibaldi Reyes, Isabel Polanco, Olga Bucarelli, Henssy Pichardo, Rafa Rosario, Amarfis Aquino, Daniel Acosta.

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