Irish Film Institute -20,000 SPECIES OF BEES



125 mins, Spain, 2023, Digital, Subtitled. F-Rated

A young trans girl’s tentative steps towards self-realisation, and her attempts to make her family recognise who she already knows she is, are sensitively traced in Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren’s stunning debut feature. The eight-year-old protagonist has adopted the nickname Coco as she doesn’t identify with Aitor, a male name assigned at birth. She would prefer to be called Lucia, but mother Ane (Patricia Lopez Arnaiz), who has two other children and an ailing marriage, is struggling to view her son as a girl.

Ane, whose moral conflict is the fulcrum around which this beautifully calibrated film pivots, is following in the family tradition by working as a sculptor, under the disapproving eye of her own mother, Lita (Itziar Lazkano), who admonishes her for indulging Coco. It falls to her aunt, Lourdes (Ane Gabarain), a beekeeper in the bucolic Spanish Basque region, to see Lucia for who she really is.

IFI Age Recommendation: 12+

Notes by David O’Mahony

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