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Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother

Little is learned either about transsexuals or Alexis Arquette herself in Matthew Barbato's maddeningly unrevealing "Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother." Conceived as a video diary/docu tracing Arquette's decision to undergo sex reassignment surgery, concept is kyboshed by her hot-and-cold attitude not just to filming but to the operation itself -- so after grandly publicizing her decision, she suddenly declares her privates are no one's business. Absolutely true, but why demand the spotlight at the start? Docu is slated for broadcast in late 2007, with possible fest pickups before then.

Little is learned either about transsexuals or Alexis Arquette herself in Matthew Barbato’s maddeningly unrevealing “Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother.” Conceived as a video diary/docu tracing Arquette’s decision to undergo sex reassignment surgery, concept is kyboshed by her hot-and-cold attitude not just to filming but to the operation itself — so after grandly publicizing her decision, she suddenly declares her privates are no one’s business. Absolutely true, but why demand the spotlight at the start? Docu is slated for broadcast in late 2007, with possible fest pickups before then.

Arquette, born Robert, has been living as a woman for a few years, though only recently decides to have surgery. Bristling at the required psychotherapy, her self-declared inability to open up to anyone somewhat explains the reticence, though as someone who craves attention, her ambivalence is perplexing. Barbato reveals layers of facades rather than the person underneath, while shockingly superficial “friends” offer no additional clues. Family members are glimpsed and discussed but not interviewed, despite title playing up sibling connections.

Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother

U.K.-U.S.

Production: An A&E IndieFilms, in association with Channel 4 presentation of a Tigerlily Films (U.K.)/Cactus 3 (U.S.) production. (International sales: ID Distribution, London.) Produced by Nikki Parrott. Executive producers, Julie Goldman, Krysanne Katsoolis, Caroline Stevens, Deirdre O'Hearn. Directed by Matthew Barbato.

Crew: Camera (color, B&W, HD), Barbato, Alexis Arquette; editor, Nick Fenton; music, Tara Creme. Reviewed at Tribeca Film Festival (Discovery), April 30, 2007. Running time: 70 MIN.

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