The first time we see forty-something year Polish Marianna is as she is heading to Court to sue her aged parents. It is evidently the only way that she can be allowed to go ahead with the sex realignment surgery which is the final part of her transitioning. After Marianne separated from her wife of 25 years and moved back with her parents, they in turn threw her out and refused to accept her new journey. On the rare occasion Marianna phones her mother she still insists of referring to her as in his masculine past.
Just before she has her surgery Marianna starts her first relationship with a man, and that seems to now make her completely happy. When she comes around after the operation she is seen on the phone talking excitedly that she feels that she has been re-born and at peace at last. This elation sadly doesn’t last very long, as she is quite soon back in the hospital, but this time fighting for her life as an excessive intake of hormones have given her a stroke.
Now as she must learn how to speak and try and get some movement back into her limbs, the normally very positive Marianna gets very depressed knowing that she now must face the fact that all her plans for the future …. like returning to College …. must now be put on hold permanently. Her mother adamantly refuses to come visit her on her sickbed, and her daughters will still not even acknowledge her, but her ex-wife Kasia is happy enough to turn up to celebrate Marianna’s birthday and talk about what at least Kasia believes were the ‘good old day’.
We learn most of the troubled part of the story when Marianna sits in her wheelchair and participates in a reading of a play that she has written on her life. It serves as a narration to the movie too.
Call Me Marianna is the sophomore documentary from Polish filmmaker Karolina Bielawska and has been deservedly picking up Awards across the globe. There are an increasing number of films that explore different tales from the transgender community these days and this very poignant and somewhat heart-tugging story will certainly be rated as one of the very best.
With a haunting track from Antony & The Johnsons the movie does it’s level best to end on a high note. The new boyfriend has not only stuck around but he acts as both the force propelling Marianna’s wheelchair and the one that is encouraging her to have hope for the future.