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Berlinale Film Festival: El Hombre Nuevo

The story of a transvestite born in Nicaragua

February 12th, 2015
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El Hombre Nuevo is the story of Stephania, a transvestite born in Nicaragua. Through her story we learn her vision of the world, the challenges she has to face, her feelings and her fears, but also her constant positive attitude towards a universe that has been cruel to her.

At the tender age of twelve, Roberto supported the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua and fought for education and social reforms. He was to continue his political struggle fighting alongside the communist Tupamaros in Uruguay. Thirty years later he is struggling to live his life as a woman named Stephanía and strives to be accepted by both society and his family.

Documentary filmmaker Aldo Garay has followed Stephanía for over twenty years. He met Stephania when she was in the middle of her sex transition. At that time she was seeking a community to belong to. Society and her family rejected her and it was therefore important to find people that understood her in order to build up an identity that would match her real personality.

The documentary follows Stephania’s journey to rediscover her home country, where she was once a son, a brother and a boy who taught literacy. Now, she returns in hope of being accepted as the woman she is.

“El Hombre Nuevo” (The New Man) provides a personal and tender portrait of a woman who can look back on a tempestuous life in which violence, drugs, prostitution and political commitment all found its place. Scenes from her day-to-day life are interspersed with interview material that includes conversations with old friends, fellow travellers and siblings, as well as a passionate, heated exchange with her mother.

The picture of society that emerges is as diverse as it is intimate, and spans a time of great political upheaval in the 1970s to the present day.

The film director chose this title in order to show a new man in a society that is constantly evolving. It is a process that includes new angles and raises questions about homosexuality.  This beautiful screening of a life-long struggle for recognition leaves us in admiration. The filmmaker managed to show a human and complete portrait without falling into the stereotypes.