International Non-Binary People’s Day is observed each year on 14 July and is aimed at raising awareness and organising around the issues faced by non-binary people around the world. The day was first celebrated in 2012.
To celebrate this day, we’ll be turning to French screenwriter and film director, Céline Sciamma.
Fluidity of gender and sexual identity among girls and women is a common theme in Sciamma’s films, and none more so than her 2011 film Tomboy. Written and shot in a matter of months. Sciamma wrote the script in three weeks, completed casting in three weeks, and shot the film in 20 days. It premiered at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival in the Panorama section of the festival. The film was shown in French schools as part of an educational program.
Before attending La Fémis, the première French film school, Sciamma studied literature. As a child, she was an avid reader and became interested in film as a teenager. She wrote her first original script for Water Lilies (2007) as part of her final evaluation at La Fémis. Xavier Beauvois, who was chairman of the evaluation panel, and could be considered as her mentor, persuaded her to make the film. A year after finishing school, she began shooting the film in her hometown.
When 10-year-old Laure moves to a new neighbourhood in Paris with their family, they take the opportunity to adopt a new male persona under the name Mikäel, experimenting with their gender expression and taking part in traditional ‘boys’ activities and play, all with the support of their younger sister who says having a big brother is “way better” than having a big sister. While Mikäel’s mother seems supportive at first, she later makes them wear a dress, essentially ‘outing’ them to their friends who have only seen them as a boy. The film won critical acclaim on its release, especially for its examination of the way gender stereotypes can affect children who don’t conform to them.
CLICK HERE FOR WHERE TO WATCH