Carmen and Lola
Carmen y Lola
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Coming of age as a lesbian in a closed, conservative and decidedly patriarchal culture—in this case, amongst the Romani people, or gitano, as they call themselves, living outside of Madrid—is a difficult thing at the best of times, and Arantxa Echevarría’s fiction debut handles this subject matter with grace, immediacy and not a little poignancy. Encouraged by her mother, 16-year-old Lola (Zaira Morales) is a bit more outward-looking than the majority of her fellow Roma, most of whom, like her father, are deeply suspicious of any contact with the world outside their rigidly codified community. Lola has artistic aspirations and is secretly beginning to identify as lesbian, and when she meets the sexy Carmen, someone already promised as a teen bride to another gitano, love hesitantly blossoms—but there is no place for a same-sex couple in Romani culture. Shooting on location in the gitano community and working with mostly non-professional actors, Echevarría has made a heartfelt film that is both moving and bracingly honest.
"Buoyed by sympathetic performances by the cast and a credible evocation of life in Madrid’s scruffy satellite towns [and] drawing on the talents within the local Roma community, the film features lashings of terrific performances featuring flamenco-Roma style music, especially in the scenes set in the local Catholic church where the flock praise Jesus with acoustic guitars and harmonic vocals." — Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter