Passing and policing: Controlling compassion, bodies and boundaries in Boys Don't Cry and Unveiled/Fremde Haut

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This article examines the cinematic representation of passing men, focusing on the underlying theme of cis male fear and the resulting policing of borders: bodily, geographical and social, employing queer theory (Butler; Halberstam) alongside the work of Foucault, to consider how power is articulated and policing is conducted in relation to the body and relationships. It commences with a reading trans tropes, before homing in on identity in relation to medium specificity to consider sight – the filmic gaze – alongside the sense of touch, then reading these aspects with the political reality of socio-economic position, queerness, crime and location. It then pulls back to consider representation, appropriation and arthouse film and culture to offer an interjection that reflects not only on fantasy and the cinematic screen, but also political reality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-228
JournalStudies in European Cinema
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Feb 2016


  • Trans
  • lesbian
  • Iran
  • German cinema
  • US cinema
  • queer
  • ethnicity
  • class
  • passing


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