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Kline, T.J. (1998). Alain Berliner's Ma Vie en Rose (1997): Crossing Dress, Crossing Boundaries. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 3(4):435-449.

(1998). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 3(4):435-449

Alain Berliner's Ma Vie en Rose (1997): Crossing Dress, Crossing Boundaries

T. Jefferson Kline, Ph.D.

Alain Berliner's film, Ma Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink) presents the drama of a seven-year-old boy, Ludovic, who frequently dresses like a girl in the belief that his gender has been “mis-assigned” and that he will eventually become a girl. Berliner's fictional presentation of this child and his family is remarkably consistent with the clinical evidence of such cases as reported by Stoller (1968). At first tolerated by his family, his transsexual behavior becomes increasingly unacceptable to his neighbors. After substituting himself for the girl who was to play Snow White in the school play, Ludovic encounters increasingly menacing reactions from his community and attempts suicide by locking himself in a freezer. Thus the character instinctively blurs his fantasy world (the sleeping Snow White frozen in her coffin awaiting the prince's kiss) and his reality (the nearly frozen child waiting in the freezer for rescue). Berliner replicates this blurring at the level of the narrative by insistent confusions between Ludovic's pastel dreamscapes and the film's overly saccharine reality. Thus Berliner offers us two “scripts”: the “clinical” one in which Ludovic learns that the only solution to his gender confusion is to “put his femininity to sleep” until he is old enough to make a gender choice on his own; and the metacinematic one in which the viewer is encouraged to participate in this fantasy of gender blurring in a way that may be quite liberating and that only the particular apparatus of the cinema can accomplish to such a degree.

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