Being Divine (Essere Divina)

Director: Luca Pellegrini, Writer: Maria Teresa Venditti, Luca Pellegrini, Executive Producers: Alessandro Tartaglia Polcini, Luca Pellegrini, Maria Teresa Venditti, Roberta Arcangeli, Producer/Copyright holder: OWN AIR, Italy, 2018, 75′, Rights: World

Being divine (Essere Divina) is the story of the Drag Lab the only course in Italy where one enters wearing everyday shoes and leave on high heels. The 4 teachers have twenty students both male and female, each with their own story, with a shared desire of becoming amazing Drag Queens. The course is much more than just a training in how to become Drag Queens. The students are challenged to overcome their self-consciousness, to laugh at their own mistakes, to enhance and exploit their artistic shortcomings by turning them into strengths. They are also taught to feel at ease by playing with male and female roles. It fosters both enrichment and discovery, a profound understanding of the other and challenges the clichés with which we are
surrounded. The course coaches the novice queens how to draw out the divine in them, not just to put on a mask for the sake of the show. It encourages the emergence of the more profound and untouchable part of our true self: “the divine” – which simply exists, beyond any categorization nor judgment. ‘Being divine’ documents a transformation which is not limited to the exterior image made of wigs, feathers, and sequins, but also consists of personal and psychological growth. We would go so far as to say a spiritual one. We follow the aspiring drag queens from their first wobbly steps on high heels to the big show when the queens perform in public and will officially be “born” in all their glory. We examine their private lives to understand the
reason behind their decision to live such an experience which is, at the same time, both a game and a discovery of oneself. In Italy, the Drag Queen phenomenon is still a little known. Moreover, there has always been a lot of confusion and a very strong prejudice against these “beings” with long legs and caustic remarks who are often confused with transexuals or transvestites.

‘Being divine’ fosters an understanding of this topic by explaining how one becomes a Drag Queen as well as its exquisitely theatrical origin. The Drag Queen is, for all intents and purposes, a mask with its own characteristics to be studied and learned, a mask coming alive on a stage with the purpose of providing entertainment, amusement, and amazement. ‘Being Divine’ explains how the Drag Queen is the heir of the theatre of the past where for centuries men played the female roles as in the Greek, Latin and Elizabethan theatres. A theatre that neither scandalized nor was seen as transgressive but the norm offered to the public. ‘Being Divine’  tells us of a world which is more diverse and richer than what we think. In the Drag lab, one is free, free to live one’s own complexity and contradictions, free to bring out the most extreme characteristics buried in each of us without fear of being judged.