Sunday, October 1, 2023

Mutt: the trans day-in-the-life drama that made history at Sundance

In the critically acclaimed film Mutt, a young transgender man comes face-to-face with a collection of characters from his past, during one relentless day in New York. 

In filmmaker Vuk Lungulov-Klotz’s debut feature, Feña, played by Lío Mehiel, encounters his ex-boyfriend, younger sister and estranged father all for the first time since his transition, and all while navigating the streets, subways and daily challenges of life in the bustling city. 

Amid the chaos, and intimate moments, he’s forced to confront whether it’s other people’s prejudices or his own that are keeping him at a distance.

Mehiel, who uses they/them pronouns, said that as a trans actor, they often play characters whose gender identity is their primary motivation. So the role of Feña, Lungulov-Klotz’s semi-autobiographical protagonist, was refreshingly different. 

As Mehiel pointed out, their character’s motivations are simultaneously much less and much more complicated than his gender identity, revolving around a central narrative conflict: a misguided mission to pick up his estranged father, who’s flying in from Chile, at the airport in less than 24 hours.

Mutt draws on the director’s lived experience as a trans man and as the child of immigrants from Chile and Serbia. But it also felt very true to the experiences of its star, who channels their cultural background and trans identity into their art.

The movie world premiered at Sundance where it won a Special Jury Acting Award for Lio Mehiel. It went on to have its international premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

Watch the trailer below:

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