VIFF 2014: 52 Tuesdays is charmingly offbeat

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      52 Tuesdays (Australia)

      Charmingly offbeat 52 Tuesdays plays a girl’s own sexual coming-of-age off her mother’s gender transition. In anyone else’s hands, it could become a story of torment. Not here.

      In this loving, freeform family, when Billie first sees Mom dressed as a man, one of her only outward concerns is whether she should start calling her Dad. What’s harder is that her beloved parent, who now wishes to be called James (played with quiet complexity by Del Herbert-Jane, gender-nonconforming in real life), needs space to transition, and Billie (vivacious new talent Tilda Cobham-Hervey) must go live with her father. She only meets up with James on Tuesdays—a pattern the filmmaker also stuck to for shooting schedules.

      It’s a kicky, provocative, and ambitious mix as we watch Billie start sexually experimenting with two older teens and James hit ups and downs in the transition, both keeping their own video journals. What comes through is the unconditional love between parent and child that transcends “male” or “female” and the fluidity of gender and sexuality.

      Rio, September 25 (4 p.m.) and October 4 (9 p.m.); SFU, October 7 (1:30 p.m.)

      Follow Janet Smith on Twitter at @janetsmitharts.