Claudette

Though raising more questions than it answers, Sylvie Cachin’s docu “Claudette” has such an engrossing subject that significant flaws of construction pale beside his/her story.

Though raising more questions than it answers, Sylvie Cachin’s docu “Claudette” has such an engrossing subject that significant flaws of construction pale beside his/her story. Claudette is a 69-year-old hermaphrodite prostitute; she’s also a husband, father, grandfather and activist for sex worker rights. Obviously she has one heck of a story, but Cachin arranges the material in such a frustrating way that each new revelation is barely digested. Still, Claudette herself is time well spent, making this a natural for fests and Euro cable.

Born with genitalia of both genders, Claudette was brought up as Claude by Swiss parents in Morocco. At 14, a girlfriend pimped him out to male clients, and Claude discovered he enjoyed his blossoming sexuality. Back in Switzerland, he led a regular life, married an open-minded woman and fathered two kids, but when business went bad, he returned to prostitution. Shortly thereafter, Claude brought his female side to the fore, and Claudette has catered to a special niche of johns ever since. Deftly transforming taboos into normal activities by the sheer weight of her personality, Claudette is a born advocate. Tech credits are standard.

Claudette

Switzerland

Production: A Lunafilm production. Produced, directed by Sylvie Cachin. Written by Cachin, Sabine Anderegg.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Cachin, Anderegg, Museng Fischer; editor, Daniel Gibel, Cachin; music, Groupe Gitan, Tango de Boedo. Reviewed at Turin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (competing), April 23, 2008. French dialogue. Running time: 63 MIN.

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