Documentary   Canada

Framing Agnes is a cinematic exploration that delves into the life and experiences of Agnes, a transgender woman who participated in Harold Garfinkel's gender health research at UCLA in the 1960s. The film combines elements of fiction and nonfiction to shed light on Agnes' story and challenge the narrow lens through which trans history has often been viewed.

Director Chase Joynt takes a rigorous approach to the subject matter, seeking to expand the understanding and representation of trans experiences. The movie examines how Agnes, who has long been regarded as a figurehead of trans history, has become somewhat pigeonholed within that narrative. The aim is to broaden the frame through which trans history is observed, acknowledging the multitude of experiences that exist beyond Agnes' own.

In order to achieve this goal, the film employs a collaborative practice of reimagination. It brings together an impressive lineup of trans stars, including Zackary Drucker, Angelica Ross, Jen Richards, Max Wolf Valerio, Silas Howard, and Stephen Ira. These individuals take on the task of vividly reenacting moments from Agnes' life and other groundbreaking artifacts of trans healthcare.

Through these reenactments, the movie breathes life into the history of transgender healthcare, revealing the challenges, triumphs, and complexities of the era. By intertwining fiction and nonfiction elements, the film invites audiences to reflect on how Agnes' story came to be seen as representative of the entire trans experience, while also highlighting the need to expand the narrative to include a greater range of perspectives.

Framing Agnes is a thought-provoking exploration of trans history that challenges traditional notions of representation and invites viewers to reconsider the limitations of existing narratives.
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