Historically, community has difficulties with accepting not only peculiarities of the others but even their own nature. The acceptance of the phenomenon of transgender status in contrast to widely spread stereotypes on it is one of the central themes and moral messages of the 1992 movie The Crying Game and the 1993 movie M. Butetrfly.
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The filmmakers’ decision to hide the transgender status of their characters can be explained with not only their intention to complicate the plot lines and intensify the viewers’ impression from the clarification of the situation at the climax moments of the films, but also conveying certain moral messages.
This technique allows the authors to demonstrate the impact of knowledge on the individual’s transsexual status upon the overall perception of a person. Thus, after one of the central scenes in the films in which Dil’s and Pei-Pu’s true gender is revealed, the attitude of the audience to these characters changes.
However, the fact that the main male characters of the movies remain with their beloved disregarding their status is intended to affect the viewers’ opinion of this phenomenon in general.
Raising the problem of the perception of the person’s transgender status by the community and the corresponding psychological distress in people who feel uncomfortable about their biological gender, the filmmakers enhance the viewers’ empathy.
Showing the suffering of the characters with transgender status, the filmmakers make the audience understand their feelings and sympathize with them. It is significant that from the very beginning neither the audience nor most characters are aware of Dil’s and Pei-Pu’s gender status.
Then, at the moment when the status is revealed, the spectators and the main male characters experience equal shock and reconsider their perception of the individuals with transgender status in general. The filmmakers’ decision to conceal the gender status of some of their characters had impact upon the spectatos’ perception of this information as associated with a concrete person.
Analyzing the changes in the attitude towards Dil and Pei-Pu after their gender status is revealed, it can be stated that knowledge on gender status plays an important role in acceptance of the others and acceptance of own nature. The importance of sincerity and personal acceptance are the main messages of the films under consideration.
For example, in The Crying Game, Dil is comfortable with her transgender status and accepts it as it is, while Fergus has certain difficulties in accepting his feelings to Dil after he gets to know about her biological gender. The inner struggle in the main male character reveals his problem with understanding who he is and what he needs from this life.
The meaning of the tale about a frog and a scorpion which is told twice in the film is much broader in the context of the film plot. Thus, when at the end of the film Fergus recollects this tale and says that he has saved Dil from prison because it is in his nature, he means much more than readiness to sacrifice his interests.
This phrase means that Fergus at last understands who he is, realizes what Dil means to him and accepts it as a part of his nature. The relationships of the main male characters with Dil and Pei-Pu which continued even after their transgender status was revealed show that gender is a significant but not the only parameter according to which an individual can be judged.
The gender status can be related to the national status regarding the community prejudices affecting the public perception of persons belonging to certain gender or ethnic groups. The plots of the films under consideration are intended to show the inappropriateness of the existing stereotypes.
As opposed to the widely spread misconceptions, Dil and Pei-Pu look ad behave as ordinary girls, and their appearance is so deceptive that the male characters do not have any doubts as to their gender status. The filmmakers have shown to the audience that perception of gender status cannot be limited to physiological sex.
Acknowledging the phenomenon of transgender status in some members of the community and the difficulties hey experience with accepting their nature and being accepted by the community, the movies provide insights into the inner world of the characters.
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Making the audience sympathize with these characters, the filmmakers motivate the audience to change their attitude to the social phenomenon in general. The knowledge on Dil’s and Pei-Pu’s transgender status at first shocked their beloved who have previously been blind to it.
Still, after getting rid of their stereotypes and reconsidering their values, the main male characters accept their feelings to individuals of their own sex. The choice of the filmmaking techniques, plot lines and structure of the movies was effective for shedding light upon the psychological and sociological aspects of transgender status.
The filmmaking techniques and peculiarities of the plot in the movies The Crying Game and M. Butetrfly affect the spectators’ perception of the individuals with transgender status by initiating the audience into their feelings and making them sympathize with individuals who are uncomfortable with their biological gender.