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BECOMING JULIA

Australia, 2003 (MIFF 2003, Australian Showcase)

Director: Ruth Cullen

The remarkable story of a likable Aussie bloke and just how he became the woman of her dreams. Paul is a farmer from Bathurst, an avowed V8 fan, petrol head and one-time member of his brother's pit crew. Single, straight, 37 and now working in Sydney as a bus driver, Paul has chosen to undergo sexual reassignment surgery. An unflinching and moving documentary with a keen sense of irony and humour, Becoming Julia charts Paul's gender transition over an intense two-year period. The twin passions for cars and the land are essential and genuine personality traits that she wishes to retain as a woman called Julia.

"Ultimately it's about looking at the world in all its nakedness in order to draw out its magic in an enriching and powerful way," is how director Ruth Cullen describes her approach. Julia's determination to live on her own terms is what makes this film so refreshing. Confounding expectations, remaining stoic in the face of conflict with family, all the while displaying disarming honesty, charm and wit, Julia's story is not one about being the perfect woman but doing it your own way.

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