PARADISE BENT, BOYS WILL BE GIRLS IN SAMOA

Heather Croall
Australia, Samoa 1999 | 51 Min. | BetaSP, OF

PARADISE BENT is one of the first cin­e­mat­ic con­sid­er­a­tions of Samoan fa’afafines-male chil­dren who are raised to be women. The film doc­u­ments how in large Samoan fam­i­lies there may be one or two fa’afafines who are not only accept­ed, but also appre­ci­at­ed. Through inter­views with fa’afafines, Samoan elders, aca­d­e­mics, and other res­i­dents of Samoa, the film explores con­struc­tions of gender iden­ti­ty, and the trans­for­ma­tion of gen­dered tra­di­tions with the advent of global cap­i­tal­ism and cul­tur­al tourism. Rep­re­sent­ing how con­tem­po­rary fa’afafines are becom­ing more west­ern­ized, moving away from family units and iden­ti­fy­ing as “trans­gen­der,” the doc­u­men­tary grap­ples with change, per­son­al strug­gle and plea­sure, and shift­ing iden­ti­ties.