No Ordinary Man Unclassified 18+
Maliciously outed after his death, musician Billy Tipton is now a transmasculine icon.
Only when American jazz pianist Billy Tipton died in 1989, aged 74, did the world – and his wife and children – learn that he was a trans man. The culture at this time struggled to countenance transmasculinity; despite his family’s pleas, an ugly media circus maligned Tipton as someone who contravened gender norms just to gain professional acceptance and success.
Now, Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt offer an unflinching and overdue act of reimagination. In No Ordinary Man, they interweave archival footage and interviews with ‘audition’ footage in which trans actors vie for the role of Billy Tipton by portraying scenes from his life. The resulting documentary is as emotive as it is informative, honouring Tipton’s lived experience and musical legacy while also powerfully affirming how meaningful a figure he is to today’s transmasculine community who yearn for elder role models.
“A fascinating and exhilarating film. The archival material is impressive and the talking-head interviews deeply compassionate and intellectually heady.” – Hollywood Reporter
The Music on Film strand is presented by Triple R
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