The "gaze" is as elemental to film theory as salt is to soup. So when Rosa Wiesauer promises an "alternative regime of the gaze" (Robin McRuer) in her film title, the stakes are high! The so-called "male gaze" implies a paradigm that divides the pleasure of watching into an active masculine dimension of looking and a passive feminine dimension of being looked at. In order to establish this binary logic, traditional cinema initially hides the fact of the camera's gaze. Entirely in line with the tradition of feminist filmmaking, TRANS*GAZE breaks with this convention from the start: We see backstage lighting, stage markings and accessories. The subjects speak expressively and convincingly about what Jack Halberstam describes as "queer time and space" as they look directly into the camera: trans*gaze.
Lines of sight beyond these moments remain within the genre, in the form of talking-head interviews intercut with costume and gestural details, and scenery illuminated in front of a black background. But the mise-en-scene of Wiesauer's work departs from the traditional "confessional" film with sly self-irony: Flowers are arranged in vases and a blossoming tapestry depicts the porcelain motif of a Hoya carnosa tricolor, a voluptuously blossoming flower that releases its intensely sweet fragrance only at night. And so it is that when the five protagonists speak for 20 exciting minutes about the particular temporality they experience (waiting for the transition, the permanent process of gender performativity), and they talk about specific locality (the meaning of public space in relation to passing, virtual space as potential for community-building, activism and political intervention), as well as the patriarchal mechanism of systemic discrimination (gatekeeping), a discursive articulation coalesces which film language can only imply: trans*life radically challenges the boundaries of the binary. How beautiful that Rosa Wiesauer's film so precisely maps and simultaneously unapologetically celebrates this trans*life. (Andrea B. Braidt)
Translation: Eve Heller
Documentary, artist film