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So Pretty

A transgender visual artist, Tonia, comes to New York City in 2018, where she meets her American boyfriend, the academic Franz, and works on an new exhibition of a work built around the legacy of German author Ronald M. Schernikau. Tonia and Franz talk politics, art, and love, go dancing, drink coffee, fuck, protest, and organize alongside their friends, the couple Paul and Erika, a transwoman and musician, and Helmut, a transmaculine political radical. When Paul becomes injured by the police following a political action, their social space is momentarily shattered. At the same time, the audience comes to realize that their lives and the film are morphing into a version of Schernikau’s novella so schön, a communist-themed depiction of four lovers in 1980s Berlin, read aloud by the characters throughout the film in voice-over and at the art installation. The film is overlaid with a mosaic of music from Rachika S, who also plays Erika, and a host of female electronic musicians.

An investigation of leftist politics and femme identity in the context of an increasingly right wing world, SO PRETTY moves freely between fictional depictions and semi-documentary, adaptation and translation, looking towards the artistic and personal worlds its characters generate across time and culture as a space for new tensions and potentials.

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