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Romain Duris Stars in The New Girlfriend

Romain Duris Stars in The New Girlfriend


The new transgender feature film from François Ozon opens in France this week

Loosely adapted from British detective fiction writer Ruth Rendell's short story of the same name, The New Girlfriend is a new film from noted French director Francois Ozon and featuring arthouse star Romain Duris that manages to bend genre as much as it bends gender.

Focusing on a man named David who tragically loses his wife shortly after the birth of his daughter, the film follows him as he develops a relationship -- not quite innocent, not exactly an affair- with his daughter's married godmother and his wife's childhood friend, the masculinely dressed and sexually aggressive Claire. Things take a turn, however, when Claire walks in on David cradling his baby while dressed in drag.

As the film develops, the audience learns of David's longtime affinity for drag, which was kept in check by his marriage, but comes rushing back to the surface after his wife's passing. Noting that the drag has nothing to do with his sexuality and that he is not gay, he blends perfectly into the role of his female alter-ego, Virginia, as Claire becomes more and more accepting of her, eventually becoming forced to come to terms with her feelings for David/Virginia.

While most films of this nature might simply focus on being a one-note farce, The New Girlfriend blends humor with drama and asks questions about homosexuality, crossdressing, and even necrophilia without blatantly spelling out any answers.

The film opens in select French cinemas Nov. 5 and will be in U.S. theaters next year. Watch the trailer below:

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