›› The Dummy - Il Manichino ‹‹

a short film by Renato Muro.

2015 | 12 mins | Italy.

a beautifully told work on gender identity.

Dave says:

There's something decidedly sweet and yet deeply poignant about this short film from co-writer and director Renato Muro.

It tells the story of a young boy (Alessandro Berti) who spends his days playing with his Barbie and Ken styled dolls, only to discover that a larger Ken lies abandoned on the playing grounds outside his apartment block, in the form of a discarded mannequin. The object for sexual high jinks by the local youths, the dummy however holds an entirely different fascination for the boy, dressing it up in his mother's old clothes; clothes that are to form a lifeline to an abused woman (co-writer Sara Carbone) who finds herself as shunned, as much as the mannequin did itself.

Wonderfully conveying the feelings of a young boy who clearly has an interest in the male physique and yet equally finds himself drawn to the female form; transexual style, this touching work is but a beautifully told work on gender identity, focusing on the period when the innocence of youth begins to give way to sexual discovery.

Intercut with a number of brief fantasy sequences and laced with enough religious iconography to fill a church, Muro has crafted a lush work that showcases the sexual path that a young boy is almost certain to take, without ever coming across preachy or didactic. And as a snapshot of a key moment in this boy's life, it says a lot without almost a single word being spoken.

›› available as part of THE ITALIAN BOYS shorts compilation.
›› posted: Saturday, 13th March, 2021.

Gay Visibility - covert. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

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