I need to get this out of the way at the beginning Case Susanna is an incredibly well made but for some in the community it may not be an easy thing to watch.    It tells the story of a community of crossdressers from the 50’s and 60’s and them and their relatives use a variety of terms to describe the individuals and it does talk about how they were treated in the society at the time, which many times was not good.

Casa Susanna is directed by the critically acclaimed French filmmaker Sébastien Lifshitz and tells of the story of an underground network of transgender women and cross-dressing men who found refuge at a modest house in the Catskills.  The documentary focuses on 2 of the residents and 2 people whose relatives who were connected to it.  I believe the getaway from Transparent was based on this event.   The film is full of old film and photos from some of the events that were held there and showcases the freedom to present their gender in the way that felt true to them. It felt like it was an oasis in the hatred that filled much of society at the time. (One of the only things I had against the project was it choosing to start with footage from a 50’s TV show interviewing “men dressed as women” which I thought might be a bad omen for the rest. The film however treats all of its subjects with respect even those who had passed away.  I found the story of the founder Susanna Valenti to be particularly touching. Though be sure to have some tissue with you while watching this.  The life of a non-gender confirming person in this time was not a happy place and the flick reflects this reality, but you can find hope in the tales of Diana and Kate who time at the Casa gave them the strength to achieve their true selves.

This is not always a pleasant show, but it is a much watch for people in the community and for people who think that the transgender community sprung up out of nowhere 3 years ago. If only I could hope, they were would watch it.

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