To Die Like a Man by João Pedro Rodrigues, today's Certain Regard offering, finds Tonia, a veteran Lisbon drag queen, at a turning point. She's aging, and her star status is threatened by a new generation of performers, who think she should retire; a son she abandoned is trying to get in touch with her, and her young boyfriend Rosário wishes she would finally undergo a real sex-change operation. Every decision she makes will be crucial.
"To Die Like a Man is inspired on personal accounts from transsexuals, drag artists, doctors, and showbiz people that I interviewed during the months when I was preparing to write this story," João Pedro Rodrigues explains. "They helped anchor me to real life while I invented my characters and their pitiless world. However, it was never my intention to follow these stories closely. Rather, I adjusted my writing to the demands of the fictional development of the characters, entering into dialogue with the codes of musical comedy, melodrama, and tragedy."
João Pedro Rodrigues, born in Lisbon in 1966, initially studied biology, intending to become an ornithologist. He then graduated from the Film School of Lisbon. His two previous feature-length films, O Fantasma and Odete, have garnered numerous awards on the festival circuit. To Die Like a Man is his third feature.