A Deal With the Universe review – one man’s journey to give birth | Documentary films

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There’s tenderness and intimacy in this film from Jason Barker, a transgender man who has edited down 25 hours of video footage that he shot over eight years of trying to have a baby with his partner, Tracey, while at the same time pursuing the process of transitioning.

Tracey’s breast cancer and mastectomy was a blow that complicated matters. As they put it: “We started out with four breasts and we’ll be lucky to end up with one.” The film that has come out of this has a video diary or home movie feel, and what it arguably loses in discipline and focus – there are quite a few meandering shots of the view from their flat in East London, and the pigeons making an appearance on their balcony – it gains in emotional openness.

Jason and Tracey’s intention to get pregnant with Tracey’s eggs wasn’t working, so they switch to what they cheerfully call “plan B”: Jason carrying the baby to term. That means putting his transitioning on hold, stopping his testosterone intake and postponing the hysterectomy. This is a difficult business and something about which Jason is very honest. He says: “I’ve got to accept that the body’s in control, and that it’s female. It’s following female instructions. Which feels stupid. I don’t understand gender in the least.”

It is indeed complicated, but what certainly isn’t complicated is Jason and Tracey’s love for each other. I sometimes felt that the intimacy was almost claustrophobic and I wondered if by recording only what Jason and Tracey say to each other, or to the camera solo, we are lacking the insight and perspective a third party might provide. But this is a film with gentleness – and a happy ending.

Source: The Guardian
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