Special Screening: SHINJUKU BOYS

Shinjuku_BoysComing to NYC’s Q/A/F series tonight, Monday, April 11: SHINJUKU BOYS

Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams’ portrait of three biological Japanese women living as men debuted at IDFA in 1995. In its initial festival circuit, the doc appeared at NewFest, Frameline, Outfest, Chicago, and Houston, among others, winning several awards.

Longinotto and Williams profile onnabes Gaish, Tatsu, and Kazuki, who all work as hosts at the New Marilyn Club, a hotspot catering to women located in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward. Dressed in natty suits – no doubt the height of mid-1990s Japanese fashion – with slicked back hair, the flirtatious boys have many admirers who seek an alternative to the men they typically meet – at least temporarily. Outside the club, the boys have their own relationships as they carefully negotiate gender and sex at a time when the term “transgender” was barely recognized in the mainstream queer community, much less within the general public. The film remains as fascinating now as it was upon its release, capturing the swagger – and vulnerability – of the onnabes and their intriguing milieu within a culturally specific environment not known to most Westerners. One only wishes Longinotto and Williams had been able to expand the project beyond its television broadcast length to delve even deeper into the boys’ stories.


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Filed under Documentary, Film, Recommendations

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