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Red Without Blue (2007)

A movie directed by Benita Sills, Brooke Sebold, and Todd Sills

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Red Without Blue - 2007

  • Dec 4, 2011
Pros: incredible story, well told
Cons: none for me
The Bottom Line:
"One day I’ll_grow up, I’ll_be a beautiful woman
One day I’ll_grow up, I’ll_ be a beautiful girl
But for today I_am a child, for today I_am a boy"
~Anthony & The Johnsons

I recently watched an intriguing documentary, Red Without Blue, directed by Brooke Sebold and Benita & Todd Sills.   It was nominated for, and won, 10 awards and shows no rating. 

The story:
Alex & Mark Farley are identical twins, born March, 1983, but we meet up with them for the first time when they are in their mid-twenties and are known as Clair & Mark Farley.   During their early teen years they both came out as gay ... Alex/Clair taking it a further step by starting to appear in public in female clothing.  As she stated in the film "I don't think I was born into this world as a man or as a woman.  I think the process of changing was the path I was born into".   By the time of this filming Clair was doing undergrad work at Princeton where she later went on to get a Masters Degree.   Mark was a successful artist living in San Francisco with several shows under his belt.   He also had attended college and graduated.

We go back into their lives and see them as children, teens, and young adults.   At one point their attempted dual suicide because of the bullying and sexual abuse from an older teenager.    For the first time in their lives they were separated when put into drug rehab for over two years.   When they returned from rehab, Alex declared his decision to become a woman.    Clair moved to New York to pursue schooling and her career; Mark went to San Francisco for the same reason.   They kept in touch continually as their lives progressed.

Some of the best bits of the documentary are the interviews with the family members.   Coming from a staunch Christian Scientist background, it was difficult for the parents and grandparents to come to terms with the boys choices.   their father because their steadiest backer, even after the parents divorced.   He stayed in constant contact with them, even as adults, and gifted the sex transformation operation to Clair shortly after she received her Masters Degree.

the mother wasn't always as forthcoming with her acceptance, making several disparaging comments at the beginning of the film.   However, by the end of the filming, which took over 2 years, her attitude had changed completely and she showed a better approach toward her children.   She admitted watching the film gave her greater insight into the struggles her children were going through, as well as her own struggles.   She has since left their small town, I believe it was in Wisconsin, and moved to Hawaii with her long time companion, Jennifer ... making statements throughout the film that she and Jennifer were not gay and I'm thinking ... who cares if you are or you aren't, except you?   Besides the choice to move to Hawaii was a great one as far as I'm concerned.

Mark shared living quarters with Brooke Sebold for several years before the story became a life consuming project for her and her fellow filmmakers, The Stills.    He slowly told her the story of his early life with Alex, his tiwn, and the decision Alex made to become Clair.   She approached The Stills to join her in making this film, their first, and the road was long and rocky since their all held down fulltime day jobs and had to secure all the equipment and financing on their own.  

telling the story was both cathartic and painful for the twins and their family.   They learned a lot about each other throughout the filming.   Mark, in particular, told Clair at one point "I do remember thinking at one point that you were kind of cutting this cord we had.  This twinship.  This identical identity".

I think the filmmakers accomplished this story without draining your emotions.   They treated with with respect and delicacy, not using it as some way to sensationalize their situation but give an honest and heartfelt portrayal of their lives,their struggles, and their successes.    Even filmed on its minuscule budget it showed with clarity, good sound, and well thought out delivery.

DVD extras:
Updates on Mark & Clair
Q&A with directors by Mark & Clair
Art performance by Mark at Tart Studios in San Fran
Deleted scenes

Overall impression:
A well done film with a story that need told with honesty and discretion. 


Recommended: Yes

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More Red Without Blue (2007) reviews
review by . November 29, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
"Red Without Blue"      Family Ties    Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride    The Sundance Channel showed the television premiere of an award winning documentary "Red Without Blue" on June 25, 2007 at 8:00 P.M. Arkansas time. I just finished watching a screener of the film and I was laterally blown away. Here is an intimate as well as heartwarming and touching tale of how family ties last above all else. The documentary follows a family …
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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


Probing the close yet emotionally fraught relationship between two gay identical twins this intimate documentary examines the troubled history of Mark and Alex (which includes a double-suicide attempt) as well as their problematic present. As one of them prepares to undergo a sex-change operation the film explores the meaning of sexual identity and its effect on family relationships. Genre: DRAMA UPC: 881394103429 Manufacturer No: CLS1034
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DVD Release Date: October 2, 2007
Runtime: 74 minutes
Studio: Cinema Libre

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