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#HotDocs21 Review: Threshold

May 9, 2021

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The 2021 Hot Docs Festival is running virtually from April 29th to May 9th, all films are available to stream for audiences across Canada

Brazilian filmmaker Coraci Ruiz crafts a low-key and deeply personal portrait of her first born child Noah’s gender transitioning process in Threshold. Shot over several years, the documentary follows her adolescent son as he goes through the process of name changes and other decisions regarding his body.

The film’s most interesting moments are the conversations between Ruiz and Noah, who candidly talks about where he personally falls on the spectrum between non-binary and masculine, offering a revealing glimpse into his thought process during this exploratory phase. Ruiz interviews her own mother as well, showing how three generations understand ideas surrounding feminism and gender identity, as she admits to having to change her own thinking that gender is only a biological determination.

Ruiz gets into more complex issues as well like parental consent for surgery and hormones, and it’s very interesting to hear these things being discussed in such an open and honest way. The film also looks at how the political climate in Brazil was shifting towards the far right during this time, impacting the social landscape in regards to LGBTQ rights. Mixing intimate interviews with home movie footage shot over the years, Threshold is an interesting look at gender identity, that explores these timely themes in a thoughtful and and emotionally sensitive way.

Threshold is available to watch from April 29th until May 9th. It includes a Q&A. Digital tickets and more information can be found right here.

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