Trans representation can go a long way, when executed properly in modern media. Sometimes, just viewing a positive film on the subject that casts real trans-actors can help demystify the transphobic image that is usually painted on most far-right network spheres. The same applies with documentaries, where the purpose of images can go a long way in changing someone’s perspective and even life. In Sébastien Lifshitz’ latest documentary Little Girl, the famed french director highlights the day in the life of little Sasha, an eight year old trans-girl who is constantly belittled for who she is by her peers and school. However, with her supportive family on her side, Little Girl highlights Sasha’s brave journey with her gender-dysphoria, where her steadfast determination and compassionate mindset can lead to progressive life-changing results.
In many ways, Little Girl is alive in every frame, where the crisp camerawork and lighting highlights the beauty and ugliness of Sasha’s world. The intended cinematic direction is effective in some scenes, in which the film almost behaves like a fiction feature. On paper, this stylistic choice is incredibly refreshing in comparison with your traditional formulaic doc. However, as the scenes begin to pile up and the subconscious count of cameras, crew, and b-roll starts to become more obvious, the hyper-cinematic style of Little Girl becomes more of a distraction than a complimentary aesthetic. Sometimes, you don’t need a wide variety of cuts to create a realistic cinematic scene. The plethora of style often overshadows Sasha and her family’s testimonies, which is where the true heart and soul of the film comes from. A slightly distracted though incredibly well-intentioned documentary, Little Girl is an important and essential film for the continuation of trans-rights and the acceptance of young trans-people in all communities.
Little Girl is now available to stream at this year’s 56th Chicago International Film Festival as part of the Documentary, Documentary Competition, and Out-Look Competition programs.