Berlinale: Programme


Film file

Panorama

Tintenfischalarm

Octopusalarm

OCTOPUS ALARM

Alex is intersexual. A hermaphrodite. An individual whose existence confuses the world’s fastidious divisions of male and female.
One baby in every two thousand is of ambiguous gender. In Alex’ case, when he was two years old, doctors recommended the use of surgery to correct his natural aberration. After plastic surgeons had amputated his penis and testicles and created a vagina, Alex grew up in his small village as a girl who wears size XXL.
“Octopus alarm” is how Alex describes the stressful situations in which, as a 14-year-old, she was obliged to try and fend off foraging boys’ hands. Her first sexual encounters were always suffused with great anxiety that her “otherness” could be exposed.
In Autumn 2002 filmmaker and presenter Elisabeth Scharang invited Alex, now 26, to take part in her weekly radio programme. During the one-and-half hour show, Alex became something of an activist where intersexuality is concerned. Telling her story to the public for the first time, she described the suffering of intersexual children at the hands of those determined to force them to adhere to social norms.
In the wake of this initial encounter, the two women developed the idea for this film, in which Elisabeth Scharang followed on camera Alexandra’s life over a period of three years. During this time, the women went on a journey through Alex’ past, but they also met Alex’ new friends. Their trip takes them from the mud-flats of Holland to California’s Pacific coast.
In Autumn 2003 Alexandra decided to live her life as an intersexual man. Alexandra turned into Alex Jürgen. At the same time, a documentary about intersexuality turned into the story of an enchantingly witty individual with an astonishing outlook on the world.

Austria 2005, 107 min

by

Elisabeth Scharang

World Sales

Austrian Film Commission