Archive of films Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela / The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela

Iceland / USA
2007, 85 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2008

There are a lot of “ladyboys” to be found on the streets of Philippine Manila who entice the most aggressive of men – it is the only way they can feel like women in spite of their bodies. Raquela however is trying to escape the spiral of prostitution. This semi-documentary film about one of the many ways to find one’s freedom was awarded at this year’s Berlinale.


As one of the film’s characters says: “Transsexuals are like cicadas. Just like them, for the first 17 years of their lives they hide their true faces. Only then do they leave the shelter of their cocoons and dazzle those around them with their song and gleaming smiles. And like cicadas, they never get old – they blaze and dish out love in heavy handfuls until they fall dead on the ground.” Raquela is one of the many “ladyboys” in Philippine Manila who lure the most aggressive of men off the streets, because it is the only way they can feel like women in spite of their bodies. Unlike her colleagues, however, Raquela tries to free herself from the spiral of prostitution that ends sooner or later in death: she uses Internet cafes to search for a rich tourist who would take her with him to the West and out of harm’s way. This raw, semi-documentary film about one of the many ways to find one’s freedom received a Teddy Award at this year’s Berlinale for Best Feature Film treating LGBT issues.

About the director

Olaf de Fleur Johannesson

Olaf de Fleur Johannesson (b. 1975, Búðardalur, Iceland) was a student of physics at the University of Reykjavik but it was during his studies in the mid-1990s that he became a dedicated filmmaker. After working for two years in the production company Megafilm, which focuses primarily on TV documentaries, he founded his own independent production company, Poppoli Pictures. In 2004 and 2005 his films Shining Star (Blindsker) and Africa United (which he also presented at the Karlovy Vary Festival in 2005) won him two consecutive national Icelandic Edda awards for Best Feature Documentary. In 2007 he completed his first two feature films: The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela and The Higher Force (Stóra planið).


Icelandic Film Centre
Hverfisgata 54, 101, Reykjavik
Tel: +354 562 3580
Fax: +354 562 7171
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Another View
Director: Olaf de Fleur Johannesson
Screenplay: Stefan Schaefer, Olaf de Fleur Johannesson
Dir. of Photography: Butch Maddul
Music: Pavel E. Smid
Editor: Dagur Kári, Olaf de Fleur Johannesson
Producer: Olaf de Fleur Johannesson, Arlen Cuevas, Stefan Schaefer, Helgi Sverrisson
Production: Poppoli Pictures
Cast: Raquela Rios, Stefan Schaefer, Brax Villa, Olivia Galudo, Valerie Grand Einarsson
Contact: Icelandic Film Centre


Sigurros Hilmarsdottir

Film Institution Rep.


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