Through the Skin

A film by Elliot Montague

US | 2002 | 18 minutes | Color/BW | DVD | Order No. 03811


In this highly personal experimental autobiography, emerging filmmaker Elliot Montague presents a daring meditation on the experience and trauma of growing up androgynous. Incorporating home movies with vintage health public service announcements, along with his own performance pieces, Elliot jarringly discloses the conflicts between his changing female body with that of his gender and sexual identity. Through a montage of images set against a dissonant soundtrack, he speaks about the misunderstandings and tensions his identity struggle caused his family and the depression that later resulted. In scenes where Elliot binds his breasts, he painfully discloses how his parents sent him to a psychologist who diagnosed him with bi-polar disorder – a diagnosis that later proved to be incorrect. Exploring the complexities and implications of feeling androgynous in a female body, THROUGH THE SKIN presents more than a personal testimony on the transgender experience, it provokes universal questions on the meaning of gender.


“…a powerful work… With hypnotic intensity, the film is an assembly of emotionally nuanced landscapes, home movies of Elyse’s childhood, found footage, and peformative self-portraits…a truly remarkable piece that summarily transcends its immediate autobiographical concerns…”

Matt Soar & Bill Brand Film & Photography Dept., Hampshire College

"…required viewing for all courses dealing with adolescence, body politics and queer issues. A complicated, layered, experimental meditation on becoming-feminine, the film explodes conventional vocabularies of cinema and of sexuality, breaking through walls of anger and anxiety. A challenging, exciting film from a fresh new artist."

Amy Villarejo Cinema Studies, Cornell University


  • Estrofest, Atlanta
  • European Media Arts Festival, Osnabruck, Germany
  • Flaming Film Festival, Minneapolis
  • Maine International Film Festival
  • Media Arts Festival Friesland
  • MIX Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, NYC
  • North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • Paris Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • Turin International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • Vancouver Underground Film Festival
  • WhamBam Trans Artfest
  • Women in Cinema, Walker Art Center
  • Women in the Director's Chair, Chicago


Elliot Montague

Elliot Montague is a New York based experimental and narrative filmmaker. Montague received his BA at Hampshire College, majoring in Film and Video Studies and Production and his MFA in Film and Video from the University of California, San Diego. Montague’s work focuses on fluidity of bodies, complexities of familial relationships, and the role of language. Montague has taught for the Tribeca Film Institute and the Urban Arts Partnership in New York City as well as the Rockport Film College, the Maine Media Workshops, and the University of California, San Diego. His work includes "Brother," "WREST," "Sharp Stone Fly," "Mainstay," "Loveship," "Untitled Desert," "Well Dressed," "The Faces of Learning," "Stories from Hamipur," "Wait for Me, Diagnosis," "Gestures," "Fresh Blood," "Lola versus the Soda Machine," "Grandma," and "Bathroom Stories." His current project, "Maine, Arizona," is a feature length fictional development of his latest film "Well Dressed," a short essay film that interrogates bodies in transition, in particular those which are transgender and/or pregnant. Montague is currently a visiting lecturer in film production at Amherst College. His website is (6/17)


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