Bittersweet Becoming

“My name is Karla Rae James. I’m 63 years old, I started transitioning just about ten years ago. I did not, and do not, have an aversion to my boy bits. But beginning the road of transition gave me a lovely sense of calm, relief and sense of purpose” – that’s how the main character of “Bittersweet Becoming” speaks about herself. Expressive and captivating, at the same time Karla can be attributed to three groups excluded in different ways: women, people who are breaking gender norms and entering the period commonly recognised as senior age. After years spent at hard work as a sailor and taking care of her ailing mother for many months, after finally receiving her blessing for transition, Karla is ready to begin physical transition on her own terms. Director Polina Teif documented this process, even though the meaning of successful, satisfying transition changed through the years.

”Bittersweet Becoming” couldn’t be made without a solid, supportive bond that connected Karla and Polina. This film is a result of cooperation based on consent and trust, created inside, by and for the queer community.

Support provided by the Canadian Embassy in Poland


Polina Teif


Polina Teif, Karla Rae James


Deirdre Morrison


Lulu Wei, Polina Tief


Canada 2023

running time:

87 minutes



Polish subtitles

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