"I lived in Spain in the last years of the fascist dictatorship. I’d go to an arthouse cinema in the shadow of the Alhambra and watching arthouse movies felt, in a small way, like an act of resistance. I’d see the films late at night and walk home in the early hours of the morning, drunk on their poetry.
That’s where I fell in love with Bergman & Buñuel & Tarkovsky & Pasolini. They’d all been butchered by the censor and they didn’t always make sense, but I loved them anyway. And I love them still.
Kurosawa came later, and I love him too; and what they all taught me is that a film can be a poem and portray the inner life, and for that reason they matter as much to me as Shakespeare or Calderón and the Mona Lisa, and they all helped make me the artist I am. There were no trans characters in films, though, so I never saw myself.
And the men in women’s clothes I did see in films were evil or ridiculous or grotesque, and that made me suffer. Because we need to see reflections of ourselves. The first time I saw a trans character, someone who was human and loving and really worth knowing, was when I saw Dil in The Crying Game. I was 42 years old. So I’ve included that film, for all it’s faults, because it’s a beginning. And it reminds us how much more there is to be done…"
Supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network.