Blue ID – documentary
Blue ID tells the story of Rüzgar Erkoçlar, a trans Turkish actor, and his transition journey beginning from the time he started his hormone replacement therapy to the present. The film was created by two of his close friends and the project was originally meant to be a resource for trans Turkish people so that they have access to trans stories in their own language. Six months into his transition, Rüzgar was outed to the press which changed the course of the story. Instead of being a transition timeline, Blue ID became a story about privacy, media, and the stress of being a public figure with a queer identity. Being outed not only affected many aspects of Rüzgar’s daily life, but also his ability to change the sex markers on his ID. In Turkey at the time, male IDs were blue and female IDs were pink – hence the title of the documentary. The film ends with Rüzgar getting his blue ID and being “reintroduced” into the public eye post-transition.
Bue ID speaks to some of the most common issues faced in the trans community as well as the desire of many trans people to have a trans story rooted in daily life. So much of the film features scenes of Rüzgar eating, or choosing clothes, or seeing friends, which felt like the documentary wasn’t designed to fit the vision of a cis audience. Despite the fact that much of the documentary focused on his being outed and grappling with that loss of privacy, it still felt like Rüzgar’s transness was not the main focus of the film. It was refreshing to see a trans story that felt like it was actually made with a trans audience in mind. The film begins with an immense amount of trans joy. Essentially the first scene of the film was Rüzgar getting his first T shot and a series of him celebrating different milestones from his transition with family and friends. This period of trans joy in the film lasted through his top surgery and first experience swimming post surgery before introducing the story of him being outed against his will. This made the film feel grounded in reality and really immersed the audience in his life, which kept the focus of the film on Rüzgar and his transition instead of him being outed. This introduction prevented the audience from experiencing pity for Rüzgar as a trans man and highlighted the publicity aspect of his story.
I think that this film addressed the trans scripts really well within the narrative presented to the audience. There is a scene in the film where Rüzgar is being interviewed in response to him being outed and the interviewer asks if he sees himself as a pioneer for the Turkish trans community. The pioneer script is certainly one that feels almost oppressive for trans individuals who are forced into the spotlight whether or not they want to or feel ready. Rüzgar responds by saying he thinks being a pioneer would almost be easier, because then, at least, he would want the attention being thrown his way. He follows up by saying that despite his status as a well-known actor, he feels like a normal person and wants the privacy that comes with that status. Blue ID also addresses the victim script well, in that it balances the hardships that Rüzgar experiences throughout his transition with celebrations of different milestones and moments of trans joy throughout the film. As audience members, we see both his frustrations at the well-known legal hurdles Rüzgar has the jump through to get his sex marker changed, but also his gender euphoria and the ways that he celebrates that with his family and friends. I think that this was my favorite of the documentaries from IDFA that I watched. It felt so grounded in reality and I prefer that to more artistic styles of filmmaking, but mostly because I felt like Blue ID was telling a story that was missing from the trans narrative in the media and I appreciated seeing relatable experiences on screen and connecting with them the way the film allowed me to do.
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