Isabel Sandoval’s third feature film is a gentle portrait of Olivia, an undocumented transgender Filipino woman in desperate need of a green card in Trump’s America.
Olivia works as a caregiver for Olga (Lynn Cohen), an older woman with dementia who spends her days lost in photo albums. Olivia’s hot-tempered, alcoholic grandson Alex (Eamon Farren) has recently returned home under dubious circumstances. When he begins to share caregiving duties with Olivia, they form an unlikely bond despite their differences, each looking for comfort and a hopeful, better future.
As the director, writer, editor, producer, and star of Lingua Franca, Sandoval has created a quietly revolutionary film that never descends into melodrama despite its challenging subjects. Instead, she lingers on the emotional intimacies of everyday life, even as the threats of ICE raids and anti-trans hatred lurk in the background of every frame.