Docs & shorts, final weekend
There’s a tasty flock of Frameline 35 docs, mostly at the Roxie and Victoria, that allow us to vogue through some interesting lives, lives in peril or at a poignant turning point.
Becoming Chaz If you’re old enough to remember The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (you probably shouldn’t admit it) when it first slid into the CBS schedule as a 1971 summer series, you’ll recall how they had a ritual of hoisting their bouncing baby girl up on their shoulders as they sang. Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato investigate how the Shirley Temple-cute Chastity Bono slip-slided away through her childhood, adolescence, stabs at a singing career, the skiing death of Congressman Sonny, drug problems and rehabs until settling down with girlfriend Jenny and deciding that this was the time to claim her inner guy.
Since FTM transitions are still just getting traction in our imaginations, there’s a lot that’s fresh and spicy in this exhaustive, candid film about how a large woman becomes a slightly smaller man, losing six-and-a-half pounds in the upper-body reconstruction alone.
The physical specifics take a back seat to how the extended Bono clan will receive their new brother/son. Cher admits that she misses her once-daughter’s voice; Jenny confesses that the couple have had their ups and down with the mood shifts and heightened male assertiveness the hormones provoke. A relative notes that the Chaz’s late dad Sonny might have had more empathy for his new son’s transition than Cher can muster. Ultimately there’s a triumphal coming out. (Castro, 6/23)