Genre: Documentary, trans life, Puerto Rico
Mala Mala is an absorbing documentary that follows the lives of nine trans and queer people living in Puerto Rico: April, Alberic, Ivana, Paxx, Queen Bee, Sophia, Soraya, Sandy and Samantha. As the subjects navigate the ups and downs of life as trans people, the camera crew documents their unique experiences, opportunities and opinions. They discuss a wide variety of topics, from the struggles they have finding work, to their decisions on whether or not to undergo gender-affirming surgeries, to their everyday hobbies.
What makes Mala Mala truly amazing, and sets it apart from other queer documentaries, is the sheer number and diversity of the trans lives it documents. Documentaries are, by definition, tiny glimpses into a subject's life. So when it comes to documenting queer, and especially trans, experiences, these tiny glimpses are of the utmost importance as they are sometimes the only resource that non-queer/trans people have to understand the community. But a feature film-length glimpse into one individual's life can never encompass an entire community. Mala Mala is a glimpse into nine trans people's lives, and is thus a much more accurate representation of the unique situations of trans people. The film documents the life of a social justice queen, a sex worker, an American retiree, a drag queen, a young student and more. In a nutshell: Mala Mala is a diamond, and everyone should watch it.
★✩✩✩✩ Piece of Cake
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Because most of the interview subjects speak English and because it was filmed for an English-speakin audience, Mala Mala's dialogue is half in English, half in Spanish with English subtitles for the Spanish half. This makes the movie a breeze for all levels of language learners! Unfortunately, the subtitles are not removable, so higher levels might find the film unchallenging, but the film is so good it's definitely still worth watching!
Rent Mala Mala for $4 here!