Under Review: ‘Lexie Cannes’


The deaf community by and large has been ignored when it comes to the film industry. Occasionally, a main character will have a relative or friend who is deaf, but you’d be hard pressed to find a deaf main character. In fact, the movie’s title character’s other identifying attribute, being transgender, gets more media awareness nowadays.

“Lexie Cannes” has an interesting premise: what if you were being stalked but couldn’t hear? This, however, is not the bulk of the film. Lexie Cannes is a transgendered deaf girl who lives in Portland, Ore., where a girl has gone missing. She is currently having problems with her girlfriend, Rhonda, who is also deaf and has not come out to her mother. Lexie unknowingly becomes the kidnapper’s target, but is saved. With the help of her drug addicted friend, Maya, Lexie attempts to solve the mysteries in her life.

As an independent film, the production is pretty basic in “Lexie Cannes.” What is unique, however, is the absence of any natural sound. Since Lexie is deaf, it makes sense, since the audience shouldn’t be able to hear anything either. This idea would not go over well with a mainstream film. However, I would rather listen to silence for 70 minutes than the odd choice of music that went with the film. On the surface, the music belonged with the film — both are dark and unconventional — but the music lacked subtly and was more like the same tune repeating itself over and over. When a new track started there was no transition.

The film also has a transition problem. The tagline of the film is “a woman who cannot hear is stalked,” but approximately halfway through the film, we never see the stalker again and have no idea what has happened to him. “Lexie Cannes” presents many plots, but has a problem interweaving them. It’s more episodic in that each problem is dealt with separately, within its own time frame.

“Lexie Cannes” redeeming factor is the character of Lexie herself. She is not defined by her deafness or by being transgendered; Lexie knows what she deserves. She doesn’t cower when it comes to doing the right thing (though she might want to try getting a hold of the cops first). Lexie is also a caring friend. For the labels that have been put upon Lexie she doesn’t let them define her life.

“Lexie Cannes,” which won Honorable Mention for Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Reel Film Festival 2009, was directed by Tom Bertling.

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