Chilean director Sebastian Delio has an abiding empathy for women in situations of turmoil and marginalization. His prior film, Gloria, was a touching meditation on a 58-year-old divorced woman’s desire to find a place in the world as a vibrant, romantic sexual being though the culture repeatedly warns her to remain invisible.
In his new film, A Fantastic Woman, Delio again visits a marginalized woman. In this case, it is Marina (Daniela Vega), who finds herself thrust out of the way when her older lover Orlando unexpectedly dies. Marina is trans (as is the actress Vega who plays her so movingly), and she is immediately omitted, questioned, judged, even investigated. She wants only to grieve her partner, and society wants her to disappear.
Without being preachy, Delio manages to bring a political and social issue into great focus and human perspective, by telling the stories of people instead of taking an abstract position. He finds the humanity in Marina, and by extension, in all of us.
Playing at Theatre N in March: Catch up on Oscar nominees. Darkest Hour and Call Me By Your Name (March 2-4); Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (March 9-11); The Shape of Water and Phantom Thread (March 16-18).