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Phantom Pain

Kristy Nichols is a pre-op transexual prostitute working the
streets of Hollywood. She likes REO Speedwagon, The Cars, really
short skirts and the possibility of being held by someone she
loves. She hates heavy metal and big egos. Phantom Pain is a
gently comic look at Kristy's confusing life which downplays the
usual issues of gender identity: Kristy has doubts about the
final, surgical solution to her gender-quest but transexuality
is among the least of her troubles.

Listless and with a face soured by a constant look of
resignation, Kristy (her adopted name comes from her fondness
for Kristy McNichols "when she was on Family"), just can't
figure out what to do with herself. Male or female? Actress or
prostitute? The streets or a white picket fence? Adrift in Los
Angeles, she allows the people in her life, from her bitter
wheelchair-bound roommate to a series of nasty male tricks, to
run her ragged. When a professor of sexology asks her to star in
a film about a transexual prostitute, Kristy thinks she may have
finally found some direction in her life. She's wrong.

Filmed in black & white with a soundtrack combining early 60's
pop with melancholy New Age piano music, Phantom Pain was made
on a shoestring budget over three weeks in late 1995. Its droll
sense of humor is so pervasive that Kristy's confession that
Carrie Fisher's performance in Star Wars inspired her to become
an actress may seem like a serious revelation. But not even
Kristy can say that with a straight face.

Phantom Pain dir. Neil Matsumoto 1996 USA 83 min. 16mm