Wild Side Review

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The story of a pre-op transsexual living in Paris who has to return to Northern France to nurse her ailing mother


This beautifully photographed movie is a melancholic reflection on the choices that make us the people we are, and the diverse events that prompt us to take them. Director Sébastien Lifshitz opens proceedings with some graphic sex scenes designed to show the role pre-op transsexual Stéphanie Michelini is forced to play to survive in Paris.

But once she returns to northern France to nurse her ailing mother and begins to recall her fraught past, we get to know the vulnerable person who commands devotion from both Russian bisexual Edouard Nikitine and Arab hustler Yasmine Belmadi — each of whom has plenty of troubles of his own. Some may find the performances and the pacing a little too deliberate, but this remains a touching treatise on memory, intimacy and self-worth.