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Alan A. Stone
Boston Review,  December 1997/ January 1998

"Ma Vie en Rose" ("My Life in Pink") is, to my knowledge, the first cinematic exploration of gender identity in young children. It is about Ludovic, a seven year old French boy who is convinced he is meant to be a girl .... [The film] has no action, no violence, no romance, no aliens, no natural disasters -- not even a recognizable star. It is certainly no comedy and, though it is a film about children, many conventional parents will not want their children to see it. In sum, it has no targeted audience ....

Yet in a world that genuinely prized and did not just tolerate difference, this film would have been made by Disney.  It marks a new, truthful departure in cinematic understanding of difference in human sexuality and gender identity in children ....

Think of all the "sinister" stereotypes that have traditionally been associated with left-handedness, and the unnecessary discipline and punishments we visited on left-handed children. We may someday come to think about children like Ludovic in much the same way. "Ma Vie en Rose" is an enlightened beginning of that process.

Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times, February 1998

The film is careful to keep its focus within childhood. It's not a story about homosexuality or transvestism, but about a little boy who thinks he's a little girl.

Maybe Ludovic, played by a calmly self-possessed 11-year-old named Georges du Fresne, will grow up to be gay. Maybe not. That's not what the movie is about.  The performance reflects Ludovic's innocence and naiveté.  There is no sexual awareness in his dressing-up, but simply a determination to set things right.

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Jack Garner
Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester NY, 2-1998

... "Ma Vie en Rose" is a provocative and artfully conceived film from Belgium, and the winner of the Golden Globe as best foreign language film of the year ...

... [This film] recreates the fantasies and dreams of childhood while simultaneously exploring the volatile subject of sexual identity.  The combination makes this first film from Alain Berliner a bonafide original -- and an immensely satisfying, bittersweet film experience....

"Ma Vie en Rose" is ... a poignant, heartfelt plea for us all to be open to all the innocent foibles of childhood, including confusions about sexual identity.  Yet this impressive film also revels in the sweet imaginations and unbridled energy of the young. And for such wisdom and balance, "Ma Vie en Rose" deserves to be seen.

James Berardinelli

... Tomboys are a common phenomenon. There is no social stigma attached to a young girl who dresses like a boy, plays rough, wears Band-Aids on her skinned knees like badges of honor, and prefers trading baseball cards to jumping rope. It's regarded as "just part of growing up."

Reverse the situation, however. The result -- a boy who adopts the traits of a girl -- is unacceptable. Such a child, who plays with dolls, puts on makeup, and wears dresses, is likely to become a pariah. And that is the situation explored by Alain Berliner's debut feature, "Ma Vie en Rose."

"Ma Vie en Rose" investigates the role of sexual stereotypes in today's culture, and shows how the more conservative elements of society encourage conformity and stifle diversity ....

Other notable reviews:
  Stephen Holden, New York Times
  David Noh, Film Journal International
  Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
  Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
  Angie Drobnic, Weekly Alibi
  Joe Baltake, Sacramento.com
Internet Movie Database
Movie Review Query Engine

Melanie Yarborough
Ma Vie en Rose: Transgender, the child and the family

... Transgendered children don't live in a vacuum. The reactions of those around them play an important role in their development.

Because transgender is so alien to most of a child's family, friends, and society, nobody has any idea how to react. Gender is a given, never questioned.

[In "Ma Vie en Rose,"]  people around Ludovic are incapable of explaining to him why it's wrong for a boy to want to be a girl. They can only respond by blaming and persecuting him.

In perhaps one of the film's most poignant scenes, Ludovic's schoolteacher tells his sniggering classmates "Some of your classmates may be different from you. You're all different. You must accept people the way they are and respect each other. At your age, you're still all finding yourselves." It's a lesson most adults need to learn as well.

Why is "Ma Vie en Rose" rated R?

Ludo -- a 7-year-old boy, who is very comfortable with, and intent on living his life as a girl -- has absolutely no understanding of adult sexuality, and no aspect of adult sexuality is presented in this film. The topic of sexual identity (which children start dealing with at the age of ... zero) is seriously presented, and there is some grief and anger (on the part of adults) around issues of conformity to gender -- with a level of conflict children are accustomed to seeing in the less intense films shown to them.  (Is this expression of conflict the "brief strong language" on which a rating of 'R' is based?  Or is it the pejorative use of the word, "bent?")  Overall, the tone of the film is very light, playful and positive.

It's rare for a foreign language film that's so appropriate for youth to be distributed in the U.S. -- a film that provides a glimpse of western European culture and very sensitively addresses a subject which children deal with every day: rigid gender roles and identity.

The MPAA Ratings play an important role: to alert parents to movie content which is inappropriate for children -- material that would be distressing to children for its intensity (e.g. violence) or mature subject (e.g. significant physical intimacy beyond expressions of affection). It is not appropriate for film ratings to be used to perpetuate bigotry.

Phil Weinstein, 2002

David Poland
The Hot Button, Oct 24, 2000

... No doubt, there is an inherent bias against independent and non-English films when it comes to judgment.  Anything in a language other than English is obviously "serious."  There are worse censorship mechanisms in the world ... lots of them.

But what is so galling about the MPAA is the representation that the system works one way when, in reality, everyone who ever has anything to do with the ratings system, knows that there are personal, biased, political, arbitrary decisions made every day.  And the MPAA doesn't pay the price for that.  First, the organization footing the bill pays.  Then, the filmmaker.  Then, the audience.  And finally, people who don't even know what's going on there, because they are missing the glory that free speech can bring ... without even knowing what they were missing.

From discussion on answers.google.com
Subject: Film: Ma Vie en Rose, Rated R
Comment by: mwalcoff-ga on 16 July 2002

Unlike the ratings system everywhere else in the world, the US system is secretive. There is no accountability for what the MPAA does. The MPAA is run by a old Johnson Administration adviser named Jack Valenti. There is no way to know that Valenti doesn't just sit down by himself and make all the ratings. Any film with a remotely left-wing or anti-establishment message gets an "R" rating. Most films do. Sometimes, you'll pass a 12-screen multiplex, and only two films won't have an "R" rating. In Canada, by comparison, only one or two films would be rated "R." It's interesting to browse the IMDB and see how vastly different US ratings are compared to those elsewhere. No one makes a big deal out of it because there is no organized interest group that represents teenagers.

cafeshops.com shwag
May 4, 2004
This website is blocked by CyberPatrol (CyberLIST Checkpoint Code:1)
Discovered July 2002
GLBTQ links ... GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) ... PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Persons) ... HRC (Human Rights Campaign) ... GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).
Colorado links ... Out Boulder ... Colorado Anti-Violence Program ... Boulder Valley Safe Schools Coalition ... OASOS (Boulder) ... GLBT Center of Colorado ... Colorado Representative Pam Rhodes -- Straight Parents -- Strong Families.    Pam Rhodes
Documentary films from  New Day Films ... It's Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School (1996) and That's A Family! (2000) ... Full Film List.
American Film Rating System:  CARA (Classification and Rating Administration) ... MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) ... NATO (National Association of Theatre Owners).
Some articles on the MPAA film ratings:  "Indies" and Film Ratings ... Film Ratings: Inadequate Replacement for Parental Decisions.
Other:   A brief guide to classic French cinema