Blue Sushi By Sammy Paul and Bertie Gilbert
Blue Sushi isn’t just about being transgendered.
The protagonist’s transgendered. And the story is developed from the effects of his decision to open up about this. But it’s not the issue here.
Something that Gilbert does really well is narrative catalysism; one subject being used as a conduit for something else. Think “Wes Anderson meets John Lasseter”. With most films, if you were to write a synopsis, the story would be triggered by [one thing] being combined with [another thing]. A protagonist + an antagonist –> synthesis. Blue Sushi is the that synthesis, from protagonist Scarlett and… the antagonist. So that’s what’s really going on here. Blue Sushi‘s actually about two things. This is probably only going to get more complicated.
So then – the antagonist. Rob. I’ve never really liked phrases like “antagonist”, because it belittles the character by eliminating complexity, but this is a Bertie Gilbert film, so I’m inevitably going to end-up talking about narrative theory. So for the purpose of this, I’m gonna say that Rob at least functions as the antagonist because he’s opposing the character whose point-of-view is telling the story.
Rob is Blue Sushi’s manager. Which means he tends to think about things economically, and tells Scarlett that he should wait a while before publicising that he’s transgender for “business” reasons. The problem is, he’s being nice about it. He’s putting-up a good argument, and is clearly not suggesting it to be phobic in any way. It just turns out that he underestimated the support of Blue Sushi’s fans, even though that goes without saying. You can’t blame a person for being a realist. He just wanted to protect Scarlett from what he knew could happen, and ultimately does happen. And yet, I’m still going to oppose his mentality purely on the basis of it not being his place to “strategise” a person’s gender. Scarlett says at the end that he felt as if Rob was suggesting that being transgender is a choice, even though he never actually “said” it. But that’s how Scarlett feels about it. And he’d know.
Scarlett chooses to publicise that he’s transgender via Twitter. And Twitter responds to it well. I can’t help but think of Caitlyn Jenner revealing her new “look” through the cover of Vanity Fair. And I use the word “look” because it’s the way Rob thinks about it. Even though it’s what’s inside that counts. A sentence so clichéd, I hate a part of myself for writing it. Luckily, Blue Sushi never actually says this. It’s not a patronising P.H.S.E. video. I H.A.T.E. those.
Blue Sushi gives us an insight into the way the media makes everything unrealistically simple, but also the way it can be used for good. About the façade of being the thing people know you to be. Rock stars aren’t really rock stars back stage. (Most) writers aren’t really melodramatic geniuses. I wouldn’t actually talk like this if you met me. Most of it’s just dick jokes and self-doubt. In reality, I don’t ramble on about things in the way I do here. Even if I do it brilliantly. That’s why you shouldn’t meet your heroes. They’re not the people they say they are. What you see of anyone is just surface. The part of themselves that they choose to show you for complex reasons that only they can explain.
Social media is used, chiefly, to amplify ourselves. I have this blog because I want people to read it. I want people to think that I’m an intellectual. I use it to promote the parts of myself that I like because it makes me think the things I hate about myself aren’t there any more. The world really is a stage, but it’s the one we make ourselves. We decide what our act is, and we perform it to forget about the things inside us we’re not ready to show people. And then we hope our inspirations will see it, even though they’re just as fake as we are. But ultimately, the majority of people don’t care if we are or aren’t what we purport to be. Which is why, maybe, we should spread our wings and live like we really are rock stars. Live off our wits and survive on instinct. Maybe we should all be worshipped, because then, nobody is.
Whatever Blue Sushi‘s about, it isn’t about being transgendered. So I suppose I should make a guess at what it is about.
This is probably only going to get more complicated. I’ll get back to you on that one.