Tina (Carlie Guevara), a 30-year-old transgender woman, and her grandmother Eliana (Miriam Cruz) have been struggling to make a life for themselves as ‘undocumented illegals’ in New York since emigrating from Mexico when Tina was only five years old. Left alone to raise her grandchild, Eliana yearns to return to Mexico, while Tina, who drives a cab, struggles for acceptance as a transgender woman in America. Although Eliana accepts Tina’s gender reassignment, she persists in addressing her by her given name – Antonio (perhaps out of habit, perhaps because it reminds her of the old days). When a fellow transgender woman is beaten up by the police Tina joins a trans protest group, picks up a secret admirer, emerges stronger and gains the courage to become an outspoken advocate for transgender rights. But there is a price to pay.
The debut feature of Brazilian director Flavio Alves features an authentic and warmly engaging lead performance from trans actress Carlie Guevara. Audiences removed from, or less understanding of, the LGBTQ community will be won over by her charm and deeply moved by her plight in an empathetic and ultimately heartbreaking drama.
Winner of 28 international awards, including the Grand Jury Prize, New Directors Competition at the 2019 Nashville Film Festival, the Audience Choice - Best Narrative Feature at the 2019 Boston LGBT Film Festival and the 2019 SXSW Film Festival Audience Award.
‘With beautifully drawn relationships and a fine central performance, The Garden Left Behind takes frequently politicised subject matter and reminds us of the human side of it. It’s as fresh and as messy as real life and, though bittersweet, is likely to receive a warm welcome from audiences.’ Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film.
‘It’s one thing to decide to make a movie about the struggles of the transgender community and violent attacks on it. But it’s far harder to turn that message into a film as natural and graceful as The Garden Left Behind.’ - Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter.
‘A lean drama that’s raw, poignant, and daring. The Garden Left Behind… offers audiences a fully realized heroine who is authentic, complex, and compelling. For days after watching Alves’ film, my mind lingered on its choices.’ - Kristy Puchko, Pajiba.