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Ma Vie En Rose  

Ma Vie En Rose is a French film from a couple of years ago, and, like Ponette, this too deals with a difficult subject from a child's point of view. However, unlike that other film, about a little girl's reconciliation with her mother's tragic death, Ma Vie En Rose may inspire some controversy with its subject.

You see, the young boy in this particular story has a very unusual tendency to dress up as a girl. This is the source of much embarrassment for his family, even right at the first scene of the film during their house-warming party, when the boy appears decked out in a bright pink dress and lipstick. His father attempts laughing it off as the boy's sense of humour, but soon after, it becomes clear that this family will be in a heap of trouble for their son's habits. The biggest source of the trouble is the boy's obvious adoration (I'm a bit wary to call it an attraction) with his father's boss's son. The boy says that when they grow older, he will become a girl and the two will then be allowed to get married. The two even play wedding at the bosses' house, and get caught by the bosses' wife. After this point, relations between everybody become a bit shaky.

The movie takes a very serious turn at the two-third point when it becomes clear that this friendly neighbourhood will no longer be friendly toward the boy or his family. Even a viewer who feels uncomfortable about this child's habit ought to feel some pity and outrage over what follows.

I'm sort of two minds about this issue. It's easy to say that the kid should be able to discover their own identity. Then at the same time, it is really embarrassing for the family, and it would be frustrating to try rightfully to convince this boy that he is a boy! Most people would probably even say that a seven-year-old person is far, far too young to even be thinking about any "deviant" behaviours, and could pay the price later on. (I also somehow wonder how the young actor's family and friends reacted to the performance he gives, and in turn what his young mind has absorbed by playing this character.) It would seem easy to say that this kid should just grow up and realize he can't do everything he wants, because there are other people to consider in making choices. But then I'd be right back to where I started: children have rights as well, and he is exercising his right to express himself. For me, this conflict added to the entertainment value of the film. That, along with its comedy of embarrassment and dramatic power, makes for a quite intriguing experience.

David Macdonald

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