Starring: Zaira Romero, Rosy Rodríguez, Moreno Borja
Carmen and Lola premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
In the Romani community of modern-day Madrid, girls are expected to marry young, serve their husbands, and have as many children as they can. This environment sets the scene for Arantxa Echevarría’s refreshing lesbian romance Carmen and Lola, introducing the common theme of hidden sexuality into a space largely unexplored within queer cinema.
Bolshy wannabe-hairdresser Carmen (Rosy Rodriguez) is ready to begin the traditional Romani lifestyle at 17 years old, when she becomes engaged to a man ceremonially approved by her father. Lola (Zaira Romero), on the other hand, has dreams of becoming a teacher, and shuns the company of boys to spend time spray-painting colourful birds across the city streets.
The pair fit perfectly into the age-old idea that opposites attract, something that they soon discover for themselves when they meet on the market stalls owned by their respective families. Sharing cigarettes quickly turns into stealing kisses, and the girls must come to terms with experiencing queer attraction in an ancestral group already shunned by Spanish society.
Lola is known to be an outcast amongst her peers, and explores her sexuality on the internet, talking to women in online chat rooms but never mustering the courage to meet them in person. Carmen, on the other hand, responds with reflexive anger at the suggestion that she may be 'one of those girls', in an illuminative display of internalised homophobia. Their undeniable love for each other falls at a juxtaposition to their role as ‘good g*psy girls’, and the unpacking of this difficulty is one of the major strengths of Carmen and Lola. It would have been easy for Echevarria to demonise the Romani community as evil and senseless, but the film instead approaches each character with humanity and balance.
Some within the girls’ families react with pure loathing, others with fear, and one with understanding: this recognition of diversity within an already segregated community injects a heavy dose of authenticity into the mix. Carmen and Lola do not hate their roles as Romani women, rather, they must learn how to incorporate their old traditions into their new relationship. As the pair dance in an abandoned swimming pool, mimicking the actions of heterosexual Romani couples, the two identities suddenly meld together, a proud upbringing adjusting to make way for an unexpected coming-of-age.
Reviewed at the 2019 BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival. The release date for Carmen and Lola is yet to be announced.
|What||Carmen and Lola review|
29 Mar 19 – 29 Mar 20, TIMES VARY
|Price||£ determined by cinemas|
|Website||Click here for more information|