Mutt (2023)

Mutt (2023)

A Sundance-awarded film that actually stands the test of time, a brave new addition to the trans cinema canon

The Very Best

8.3

Movie

United States of America
English, Spanish
Drama
2023
VUK LUNGULOV-KLOTZ
Alejandro Goic, Cole Doman, Jari Jones
87 min

TLDR

We've waited far too long for a protagonist like Feña to grace the screen!

What it's about

A film following Feña, a trans man, in the course of one day, as he bumps into his straight ex, his younger half-sister, and his father visiting, all of them reconnecting after his gender transitioning.

The take

Just based off its title, Mutt is already a film that tackles a state of in-between, and perhaps what makes it already precious is how honest and personal it can get, while remaining a good fictional story. This striking debut took Chilean-Serbian filmmaker Vuk Lungulov-Klotz more than six years to make, at least from the initial stages of the script as he was working through his own transition, how that felt and how he dealt with it in life and art. That said, Mutt is a film that stands on its own feet, without the need for any such context: the script, the performances, the frantic pacing of it, they are all top-level stuff. A generous, open film that has its trans protagonist be who they are, whatever that may be, and gives as much insight as it allows for curiosity and empathy. If Mutt is educational in any way, it is through it's apt storytelling and truthfulness that bleeds through the screen; its significance for trans cinema cannot be overstated, but it is also once of the most accomplished debuts of 2023.

What stands out

Lío Mehiel, who plays Feña, was the first ever transgender actor to receive the Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting at Sundance and while this win is already historical, his naturalistic portrayal of Mutt's protagonist deserves further praise. With a role such as this one, a trans man faces their own transition again, through the character, and that's no simple feat. Director Vuk Lungulov-Klotz shares that it took two years to find the right person for the part and Mehiel was also undergoing top surgery, such as his on-screen character. However crucial these preconditions are, it's undeniable that Lío Mehiel gives a heartfelt, throbbing performance that gives the film its visceral and emotional strength. Feña is ordinary and extraordinary at the same time, a raw and attractive protagonist that guides the film into indie masterpiece territory. We can't wait to see what happens next!

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