My Buddy Claudia  {Meu Amigo Claudia}

My Buddy Claudia
Meu Amigo Claudia

Brazil, 2009, 87 Minute Running Time
World Premiere
Genre/Subjects: Activism, Aging / Elders, Biography / History, Discrimination, Documentary, Drag, Latino/a, Male-to-Female, Music / Music Video, Sex Work, Transgender
Program: Documentary
Language: Portuguese

DIRECTOR: Dacio Pinheiro

We’ve had La Cage, Dog Day Afternoon, The Silence of the Lambs, Tales of the City, TransAmerica. But imagine the straight forward story of a real trans girl. Brazilians, over thirty years, came to know Claudia Wonder. In Dacio Pinheiro’s fast-paced doc, we do too. There she was, the first travesti to act in ’70s mainstream soft-core, part of a cast of “real” men and women, and the only one baring it in a straight men’s magazine.

And here she is now, recalling the ’80s when travestis and homosexuals were regularly found dead and cops arrested them for fun. When police busted a carnival outside a gay club, young Claudia found herself screaming, “Arresting fags is easy! But nobody goes into the slums to fight armed thieves!” Her notoriety made her the spokesperson for a new organization to help sex workers — male, female and trans “who don’t have support of the family or anyone’s.”

Just when you think you’ve got her figured, she is singing ’80s glam-rock she wrote, a blood-filled “Vomit of the Myth” (defying the myth that trannies “can only do impersonation shows”), as a Grace Jonesy punker covering “Take a Walk On the Wild Side,” even Electro-clash in 2004. She even replaced Sonia Braga (“She was shooting in Hollywood”) in experimental theater once banned by the old dictatorship, taking the role of Comrade Truth, revealed and uncut in all her glory, matter-of-fact and heroic. — MARK FREEMAN

Text Voting Code: D306

Copresented by

Queer Cultural Center

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