One of the more unusual gay-themed films to have come out of
Europe this decade, Marble Ass is a gutsy, transgender-positive
political and social drama that champions individual creativity
against the mindless macho militarism that has kept the Balkan
area in turmoil for years. Set in a rambling house in suburban
Belgrade, the story focuses on Merlyn, a tough but good-hearted
transvestite prostitute and her roommate, fellow working "girl"
Sanela. Their routine is shattered when Johnny, a crazed
ex-lover, is decommissioned from the army and arrives at her
house full of barely repressed rage.
The film works both as a political allegory and an unflinching
look at the often dangerous gay sex-for-sale world. The
bleached-blond 37 year-old Sanela is a wonderful creation -
mouthy and strong, she is not afraid to defend herself and
others. At the same time she is realistic about her condition in
life - that of an aging hustler. When pressed, she acknowledges
that her tricks know that she is not a woman, but defends her
drag by explaining that it is merely "show business". A brave
film in its championing of sexual diversity.
Marble Ass dir. Zelimir Zilnik Serbia 1994 80 min. 35mm
in Serbian with English subtitles