By: Amanda Guarragi
In France Michelle Is A Man’s Name is about a young trans man, named Michael (Ari Damasco), who returns home to the rural American West after being away from his family for years. After a very awkward dinner, Michael joins his dad for a drive for some bonding but things go sour very quickly. This short film is very difficult to sit through because of how painful it is. For a trans man to experience something like this, at the the hand of his father made this extremely emotional.
Director Em Weinstein subtly takes the viewer on a journey of what it means to be Michael. There are small moments that make you realize how Michael is feeling and how people around him affect his view on the world. There is so much that is shown to the viewer, it almost works as a silent film in a way. There are such tender, emotional moments that cut through your heart because of how traumatic they are. No one realizes how certain moments in one’s life can affect them in the long run.
We can all recall a moment that affected us deeply that we still think about until this day. We play it again and again in our head, dissecting what that moment truly was and it’s heartbreaking. What Michael faced was emotionally damaging and you could see the mixture of emotions on his face. There was so much he wanted to say and he so badly wanted to stop what was happening. These moments, where you freeze and just accept what’s happening to you are the moments that shape who you are.
In France Michelle Is A Man’s Name is an emotional journey through the eyes of a young trans boy and it will leave you heartbroken. It is a difficult but necessary watch, as Em Weinstein shows so much honesty in this short film. It shows the fabricated ideal of masculinity through fatherhood and the assumptions made because of gender conformity. It’s a film that will stay with you after you’ve watched it. It’s hard to process any form of trauma but seeing it through a difference lens can help so many people.