"Carmen y Lola", Arantxa Echevarría's first film, arrives on the big screen after collecting accolades at Cannes and a bitter controversy with gypsy associations
GAYLES.TV.- This past Friday came to commercial screens "Carmen and Lola", the first movie of Arantxa Echevarría who signs the script and the address. And it does it with the bittersweet taste of who, even before the premiere, picks up in equal parts praise and criticism, applause and a bitter controversy with who could least be foreseen, with the Feminist Gypsy Association for Diversity and with Afroféminas. In both cases and even admitting not having seen the film, very hard articles were written against the director accusing her of reinforcing outdated and macho stereotypes. Echevarría was criticized for "To take on the role of a savior of the Roma community as paya and bilbaína, but making their reality invisible from a perspective of white feminism and cultural stereotype". What spurred such harsh criticism were statements by Echevarría: "A woman tells the situation of a gypsy woman or nobody tells her, and unfortunately she has to be a paya who tells it because they do not have a voice". The recrimination of the association entered into swampy land by saying that "There are hundreds of topics (about the gypsy culture) to talk about and you have to talk about 'that'? " . And is that "that" is, of course, the lesbianism of its protagonists and before that attack the director came out to defend herself affirming that "They (gypsy lesbians) asked me to please tell their story because they can not. And that's what I've done, give them a voice and use movie screens as a speaker. "
The confrontation soured to the point that the"Film and Women Show" that takes place in Pamplona and that he had planned a film pass, ended up deprogramming the film, it is not clear whether by the allegations of the associations or by the will of the director not to pay more confrontations. And the subject, probably and now that is already projected in the public rooms, is not going to stay here. You can follow the chronology of the events in the links that you will find at the bottom of the page, for our part we prefer to enter into other nuances.
First of all it is worth noting that the entire cast of the film, from the main characters (impressive Rosy Rodríguez and Zaira Morales) until the last street vendor, cousin, cousin, father, mother, evangelist pastor or whoever appears in the film are not professional actors or actresses, they are gypsies who transpire authenticity, not costumbrismo and something of truth will be in the film when they have lent their voices, their gestures and their faces to this story. It has cost Echevarría enough to find two gypsy girls who dared to live a lesbian story in front of the cameras. "The girls came to the casting and, first of all, I asked them: Would you mind going out smoking in the movie? You are crazy paya! What are they going to say about me! They answered me. So neither at least I continued with the test. Some who were encouraged at the beginning, the second or third test realized the substance of the subject and were scared".
The film may carry the inks when portraying a community and a culture in excess traditionalist and intolerant. It may be from beginning to end a string of topics about the customs, ways of life, expression, rituals and organization of the gypsies. Or maybe not. The truth is that they live, coexist and share space and society with the payos as if they were parallel universes, fused but distant, everyday and alien. An implacable law of decoherence separates us and keeps us ignorant of the respective realities. How then can we say that the heartrending situation faced by lesbians and gays of some cultures such as the gypsy is not true? Do not resonate not so distant statements in the mouth of payos and payas as "Before you would have been born dead that bollera"? So soon we forget?
We are not going to position ourselves, perhaps because of the humility of recognizing that we lack information about a reality that we do not know in depth and because what matters to us here is to value the seamless authenticity of "Carmen and Lola". Tender, emotional, well narrated from the silences and the looks, with the undeniable strength of a forbidden and overwhelming first love and with the hardness of an environment that like so many other cultural environments justify, in favor of tradition, the submission and sacrifice of the most authentic of the human being to the community.
"Carmen y Lola" is a song of freedom, of uprooting, to the pain of having to choose between being or being accepted. Essential.
Photographs: Francis Mascarenhas (Reuters), Aijaz Rahi (Associated Press)