Existence as activism

IDENTITY: Intertwined with days of protests, the final days of Chile's radical Cabaret Travesía Travesti show how important it is that the trans community stands up to tell its own stories.

(Translated from English by Google Gtranslate)

As the Chilean uprising of October 2019 was gaining momentum, activist transvestite show Cabaret Travesia Travesti had the last ever performance. Beyond the high heels and the flashy outfits, these performances had always been politically charged, calling for involvement and the change of a painful reality: that of a historically stigmatised community that is often subject to deadly violence. For Nicolas Videla – who was part of the cabaret troupe – this last performance marked the end of an era, and at the same time opened up a possibility: that is to tell the true stories of this community turning into flashy characters by night, but underneath that, constantly struggling to stand its ground, find dignity and say ‘I exist.’

Travesti Odyssey, a film by Nicolas Videla
Travesti Odyssey, a film by Nicolas Videla

A world never truly seen

Beyond it being a celebration of the troupe, watching Videla’s Travesti Odyssey feels like a dive into a world you’ve never truly seen from close, and certainly not from the inside. It’s not a sneak peek, and it’s not an affair with the flamboyant aesthetics, the glitter, and the mannerisms one might associate with the idea of drag. Instead, it is as close as one can get to an immersion through a film, an intimate look into a complex human experience, most often misunderstood and misrepresented. A world that is different from the mainstream ‘normal,’ because of that is generally hidden, inaccessible, and portrayed in a voyeuristic way.

The film is built as a collage of interviews, archive footage, and scenes . . .

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Bianca-Olivia Nita
Bianca is a freelance journalist and documentary critic. She is a regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
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