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Review by Dani Kinnison
Australian filmmaker Phoebe Hart’s autobiographical documentary, Orchids: My Intersex Adventure, is a film of exploration of Hart’s intersex condition through her own dialogue and other intersex people’s experience.
Hart’s knowledge of her condition of Androgyny Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) accumulated in the form of bits of pieces of information her mother would tell her at different points in her life growing up, such as the fact that she wouldn’t be able to have children. It also came from her own life experiences such as not being able to menstruate. These eventually materialized into the knowledge that Hart was born without a uterus, and that she had ascended testes, which were surgically removed as a child.
In a tone that’s genuinely honest and heartfelt as it is informative, Hart charts her own timeline of her knowledge and exploration of what she terms a family secret. She opens up about her perspective as an intersex person and includes the outlooks of other Australians with AIS via a road trip with her sister Bonnie.
Hart’s journey of self-discovery and exploration is aligned with the intersex people that she meets, some of whom she’s befriended along the way. The use of old family photos and videos allows the viewer to be placed in Hart’s frame of mind during a specific point in time.
Orchids: My Intersex Adventure captures Hart’s growth as an intersex person, from childhood to her present life with an honest vulnerability that becomes celebratory during the film’s entirety while showing the courage that Hart and the film’s subjects share.
Vox rating: VVVV
THE RATING SYSTEM
VVVVV = AWESOME! SEE IT TWICE
VVVV = DEFINITELY GO SEE IT
VVV = HMM… IT’S OKAY
VV = EH… DVD MAYBE?
V = DON’T BOTHER
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