Performance artist and gender activist Diane Torr has appeared on stages around the world as a drag king, performing male characters and raising issues of gender and performativity. Now she holds workshops for other women in which they develop their own male characters and live as men for a day in an attempt to better understand the dynamics of gender in contemporary society.
MAN FOR A DAY brings us inside Torr's workshop in Berlin. The artist guides a group of open-minded women from diverse backgrounds—an Angolan single mother, an Israeli lesbian, a young German beauty queen, among others—through the theoretical underpinnings of her work, and helps them develop male characters of their own.
Insisting that each participant ground her character in observation, Torr takes them out to the streets of the city to watch men, noting their gestures, their gait, and their sense of ownership of the world they walk through. From these models, the women develop personas for their own characters.
Torr then helps them transform themselves: adopting the gestures and physicalities they observed, locating appropriate clothing, and concocting a voice for the character. The women then venture out into the world, travelling among strangers in public spaces, and visiting their own families, as men.
A practical, hands-on exploration of some of the key theories in gender studies, MAN FOR A DAY is an investigation, as serious as it is playful, of how masculinity and femininity are constituted today.
"An offbeat, thought-provoking film about gender roles, this is recommened." —Video LIbrarian
World Premiere, 2012 Berlinale
2012 Montreal World Film Festival
2013 Tempo Documentary Festival (Sweden)
2013 Open City Docs Film Festival (London)
2013 BFI Lodon Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
"Touching!" —Der Spiegel
"Provokes new questions about the way men and women interact even in societies that aspire to full equality" —The Hollywood Reporter
“Candid and humorous!” —Diva Magazine
"An excellent discussion-starter for adults and mature students exploring a broad range of topics beyond gender identity and gender differences, to discrimination, feminism, and social psychology. Man For a Day is recommended for college and public libraries, especially collections supporting gender studies and LGBT-related studies." —Educational Media Reviews Online
"Entertaining and thought-provoking... presents a very interesting and important perspective." —Anthropology Review Database