From Doris Wishman, the “Queen of Exploitation,” comes LET ME DIE A WOMAN, one of the most jaw-dropping and unclassifiable films ever to ooze forth from the 1970s grindhouse. A stunningly sordid shockumentary on the medical condition known as gender dysphoria, this doco-style sleaze-fest includes unabridged interviews with post-ops, bull dykes and drag queens, probing anatomical examinations and real medical stock footage from an actual sex change operation!
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"Let Me Be a Woman" was able to achieve something no other film has been able to do in decades: it shocked the hell out of me; it grossed me out. That is saying a lot because I grew up watching John Waters' movies. Between "Pink Flamingos", "Female Trouble" and "Desperate Living" I thought I'd seen it all. Then I went to a midnight showing of "Multiple Maniacs" (which introduced me to rosary jobs) and THEN I'd felt sure that I'd truly seen it all. What was left?
Up until I queued up this gaping wound and watched it, transfixed on the people on the screen - what they had to say, and moreover, what they had to show. At first, it feels like a John Waters movie, except there isn't much here except pure exploitation and shock, without Divine or Edie.
The film opens up with an interview with a transgendered woman. Five seconds into the interview, I notice she has a big chunk of food lodged between two of her front teeth. That chunk pulled me in and made me watch the entire remainder of the film.
Why didn't anyone tell her she had a big chunk of food in her teeth? Couldn't she feel it? Wouldn't one brush their teeth before being interviewed on film, or at least check them? That chunk of food grossed me out and continued to do so well after the interview was over. However, I had no idea just how far down this movie would go...the chunk of food proved a precursor to much more gruesome scenes.
They are forever burned into my brain. And that's not such a great thing, except I can say I actually went down into this thick, Kafkaesque hole and made it back , mostly unscathed.
Very straightforward, open, sensitive and accurate message for it's day! Fake presentation on the part of many actors and demeaning to some in so far as how their bodies were displayed, evaluated and discussed. However, this was a very controversial subject and a revolutionary approach...a beginning to exposure and education still so much needed for this population. It was okay, but wonderful to note from a historical perspective on the transgender condition.
The film gets the message across but is presented in the old behind the mainstream format and in some scenes its like an old porno presentation from the 60's......FAIR.