20,000 Species of Bees review – trans kid struggles to find a place in family eco-system


This emotional family drama, the first fiction feature from Basque director Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren, showcases a gentle and delicate portrayal of the challenges faced by children and the adults trying to navigate them within the larger context of their extended family’s emotional struggles.

Ane (Patricia López Arnaiz) is a sculptor who resides in the south-west region of France. She is facing financial difficulties and experiencing issues in her marriage with Gorka (Martxelo Rubio). The couple has three children, and their youngest daughter Cocó (Sofía Otero) seems to be struggling the most. When Ane is forced to take the kids on a summer vacation to the Basque Country of Spain, staying with her widowed mother Lourdes (Ane Gaberain), Cocó’s worries and self-doubt become more apparent. Lourdes, now focused on beekeeping, used to handle financial accounts for her artist husband, similar to Ane’s career.

Cocó’s original given name was Aitor, which is typically a boy’s name. However, she now prefers to go by the nickname Cocó, although she no longer feels comfortable with that either and asks to be called “Lucía” instead. Lucía finds peace and joy in the presence of her grandmother and her diverse collection of bees. However, trouble arises when a family christening approaches and Lucía is expected to wear formal clothing, which she struggles with as she wants to wear a dress. In a heartbreaking moment, Lucía even expresses a desire to die and be reborn as a girl.

Ane acknowledges Lucía’s gender identity but has concerns and her husband worries it may be too early to think about. Ane also has her own identity struggles as an artist. She plans to work on sculpture projects in her late father’s workshop over the summer, which causes some pain for her mother. Ane’s father gained notoriety in the community for taking nude photos of young girls. Ane’s grandmother, who is accepting of using female pronouns for Lucía, advises Ane not to ignore Lucía’s wishes in the same way she ignored her husband’s actions.

The analogy provides something to think about. The conflict between Ane and her mother regarding the importance of Ane’s career as an artist has a strong human element that may not be present in the rest of the movie. However, overall, it is a heartfelt and well-acted film.

Source: theguardian.com

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