T R A N S T Y X
Q U E E R A R T P R O J E C T B Y Z A N O O B Y A
S Y N O P S I S
TranStyX tells the story of the life of Tina, a trans woman, from her birth on January 14, 2011, in Tunis to her coma in London at the age of 27 on the operating table during gender reassignment surgery. Tina falls into a near-death experience and meets her guardian angel Stella who teaches her to detach herself from her previous life, reveals to her the secrets of human existence, rewinds the film of her tumultuous life as a transgender, and eventually submits her to the last judgment.
D I R E C T O R S T A T E M E N T
TranStyX is openly, straightforwardly, and unapologetically Queer in a country that criminalizes gender identities and sexual orientations that trespass the binary norm. TranStyX is an inclusive work of art emerging from the local community and its allies, a tribute to all those who left us too early while trying to elbow their way toward the light at the high end of the dark tunnel, a personal, yet universal story of a struggle with a bittersweet local taste…
B I O G R A P H I E S
M O N C E F Z A H R O U N I
Writer & Director
Moncef Zahrouni, born in 1988.
Storyteller, sound designer, dramatist, stage director, film director.
He graduated from El Teatro Studio whose founder and manager is the eminent man of the theater Taoufik Jebali.
He studied software engineering and then specialized in business management.
He has many artistic experiences ranging from theater and music to videography. Among his works, there are:
S O N I A H E D H I L I
Lawyer by training, project manager, and multidisciplinary artist.
She enrolled in several acting professional training experiences:
In 2018, she began an experience as a project manager with a cinema production company: she managed several projects including the distribution of the film Weldek Rajel by director Heifel Ben Youssef.
She adapted and directed the play Psychose 4:48 by Sarah Kane.
From 2019 to 2021, she plays the role of Tina in TranStyX, a philosophy-fiction play written and directed by Moncef Zahrouni and produced by Zeyneb Farhat.
As part of the "Philosophical Colors" project launched in 2021, she produced and directed a series of 4 documentaries revolving around human rights, diversity, and inclusion.
(1) Prefix. Across; beyond; on or to the other side of.
(2) Referring or relating to people whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.
Greek Mythology. One of the nine rivers in the underworld, over which Charon ferried the souls of the dead.
Where does the Styx drain? Is it possible to row against its current to reach The Elysian Fields? Should the life of a trans be a tragic egodyssey predestined to be swept away by the Styx tide?
The Story: Tina & Tunisia
TranStyX is the story of Tina, a transgender woman born in Tunisia on the day of the revolution on January 14, 2011. Tina grew up in a country struggling to succeed in its democratic transition following the long years of dictatorship.
Tina becomes aware of her non-normative gender identity at an early age and is quick to express it out loud within a conservative milieu. Thus begins a long journey of self-construction using philosophy, art, and science. Her life's tumultuous hardships, public commitment to the defense of human rights, and encounters with other trans people made her evolve and enabled her to reverse the paradigm of geographical determinism.
As Tina navigates her way to emancipation and self-acceptance, decadence sets in as her country falls prey to voracious oligarchs, despotic politicians, and suicidal religious maniacs. While Tina's story is a modern-day odyssey that goes from her birth until her coma at the age of 27 during her gender reassignment surgery, that of Tunisia is dystopian political fiction.
TranStyX is also the story of an encounter between Tina and her guardian angel, Stella. The two meet in an afterlife ruled by hedonistic laws and a circular temporal pattern, an afterlife that is far from being Dantesque and that synthetizes the essence of joy in the most widespread religions and belief systems on earth, an afterlife where the poetry of Lucretius is sacred and the words of Gibran are prophetic, an afterlife where all morality boils down to enjoying and making others enjoy without harming oneself or anyone. Thus, TranStyX is intended as a philosophical fiction that encourages doubt, questioning, and reflection beyond binary configurations: good and evil, masculine and feminine, free will and determinism, life and death, Earth and Heaven...
Tina's body and Stella's voice are affected by the changing temporality and both display a constant metamorphosis throughout the different chapters. Despite the multi-dimensionality of the narrative, the story endlessly circles around itself like a Möbius loop.I wrote TranStyX in a Tunisian socio-political context characterized by an unprecedented dynamism within civil society that seeks to assert the rights of Queer people and to abolish the liberticidal laws which condemn the very existence of non-normative gender identities and sexual orientations. I also intended to deconstruct the stereotypes perpetuated by the media and local audio-visual productions around LGBTQIA+ people by offering an outlook that emerges from the Queer community itself. Although rooted in a local context, the work aims to be universal and seeks through its main character to paint a positive impressionist portrait of a trans person who struggles, learns, enjoys, suffers, loves, hates, evolves, and most importantly breaks the silence and LIVE!
The film is made up of 14 chapters. Each chapter has its own visual and sound universe. The neutral and tarnished theatrical lighting alternates with the more colorful and vivid cinematographic lighting, reality intertwines with fiction, and the voice-overs and flashbacks become a narrative device that gives shape to the multiversal temporality of the work: Afterlife time, earthly time, the time of Tina and Stella's past lives, the cybernetic space time in which Tina's artificial alter-ego evolves, time of the Styx crossing, time of the near-death experience, time of a theatrical performance by Lady T. (Tina's stage name)...
Rest in Peace Grandma!
My grandmother's bedtime fantasy tales rocked my childhood and it is thanks to her talent as a storyteller that I saw this passion for storytelling uncontrollably grow in me. As a teenager, I was an introverted queer, frugal in speech and prolific in imagination. My inner world with its Homeric narratives and inclusive ideospheres was my escape. Books, music, and films nurtured that world, and now part of that world of fantasy found its way to TranStyX.
TranStyX is the first Tunisian feature film aimed at the general public that unapologetically claims to be queer with not only its story that addresses the theme of trans-identity far from the beaten path of clichés but also through the participation of LGBTQIA+ artists and technicians in its creative process. TranStyX finds its meaning in post-revolution Tunisia: the land of 3000 years of civilization and one thousand and one paradoxes, the land where queer art seeks to impose itself on the local art scene in order to open a real societal debate around the violated rights and liberties of a community that lives in the shadows.