Four transsexuals are brought in to a hotel room on the same night. Each trans woman is asked to lay on a bed in an empty room and reveal herself to a camera mounted on the ceiling. As the film progresses, their stories blend, separate and overlap in a beautifully-constructed collage of multi-coloured images. They share with the camera their fantasies, hopes, questionings and experiences in the streets of Sao Paulo.
- Best Documentary | Sopot Independent Film Festival | Poland
- Honorable Mention | AluCine Toronto Latin@ Media Festival | Canada
- Best Film Nomination | International Experimental Film Festival Carbunari | Romania
- Best Film Nomination | Mostra do Filme Livre | Brazil
- Split - International Festival of New Film | Croatia
- 15th Videobrasil International Electronic Art Festival | Brazil
- Lisbon Gay and Lesbian Film Festival | Portugal
- Portobello Film Festival | England
- Exis Experimental Film & Video Festival | Korea
- 9th International Video Festival Videomedeja | Serbia & Montenegro
- Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival | Switzerland
- Festival Mix Brasil de Cinema e Vídeo | Brazil
- Kunst Film Biennale | Germany
- VAD Festival Internacional de Vídeo i Arts Digitals | Spain
- Mostramundo, Festival da Imagem em Movimento | Brazil
- Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin de Nouveau Cinéma et Art Contemporain | France
- 1st Aarhus Festival of Independent Arts (AFIA) | Denmark
- International Videofestival Bochum | Germany
- Inside Out Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival | Canada
- Videolab | Portugal
- The First and the Last Experimental International Film Festival | Australia
- Canarias Media Fest | Canarias Islands
- MIX New York Lesbian & Gay Experimental Film Festival | USA
- Tirana International Film Festival | Albany
- 10th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival | USA
- Aza Film Festival | Greece
- Monkeytown | USA
ON TROPIC OF CAPRICORN, by K Carr (Guide to Women's Film and Video)
Tropic of Capricorn is a short documentary by Kika Nicolela that tells the tales of Brazilian transsexuals. The filmmaker rented out a hotel room. Over the course of an evening four transsexuals are brought in one-by-one. They lie upon the bed and tell their stories to the camera which is mounted on the ceiling, echoing the film’s title, “Tropic of Capricorn,” the southernmost point at which the sun can appear directly overhead.
The transsexual subjects that the camera is poised on are quite visually odd. However, challenging the viewer’s expectation, this visual oddity is not rooted in their transexuality. Instead, they “glow.” Through the use of video filters, each character radiates their own unique color. And so not only are we put in a strange position as a viewer but also the transsexual subjects are made equally strange. The setting equal of the strangeness of the viewer and the subject is telling. It is an early sign in the film of the politics of “setting equal” and “seeing as the same”.
They crawl into bed or cuddle. Some splay out while others straddle. All take their own unique position upon the bed and all tell their story. In regards to the topic at hand, the bed seems to be of great importance. It serves as a location of comfort, home and intimacy. Moreover, for the transsexuals interviewed that worked as prostitutes the bed is even more familiar. It is the workplace. The intimacy that the bed affords adds to the identification of the viewer to the interviewee. Moreover, the lack of camera movement which places the locus solely on the bed and the transsexual offers a similar intimacy.
From above, the glowing transsexual looks not so much different than sensational fictional alien autopsy: odd colors, strange anatomy. At first this may cause a resistance and designation of otherness for the viewer. However, the aforementioned intimacy that is established refuses this. “All I really wanted to do was work abroad and settle down…thats it,” says Jessica as she glows red. It is hard to imagine this not being a universal sentiment of all persons. It is not a transsexual speaking but a human being and perhaps they’re not that different after all. And so taboo has been confronted. A fearful situation is established. The audience is thrust into a dark room with a sexually “other” person and the bed is right there. Oh No! But soon enough, through the gripping conversations that the interviewees have, the focus is shifted from the visual and superficial to something deeper seated.
Since the films release in 2005 it has been honored, among other places, at the Sopot Independent Film Festival as “Best Documentary” and has been nominated as “Best Film” at both the International Experimental Film Festival Carbunari and Mostra do Filme Livre. Such films, especially addressing such taboo topics often find little distribution space and eventually see quite a small audience in places like festivals. However, the advent of Internet media films like this can be found much more easily by those seeking media addressing such topics. As of April 2007, The film is legally available in its entirely on multiple streaming Internet sites such as youtube.com.