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D’A 2022

Review: Girlfriends and Girlfriends


- In her debut film, Zaida Carmona pays homage to Éric Rohmer with flair and grit, but above all to the girlfriends in her life

Review: Girlfriends and Girlfriends
Zaida Carmona (left) in Girlfriends and Girlfriends

In Boyfriends and Girlfriends from Éric Rohmer's series “Comedies and Proverbs”, a kind of love game was created between a group of four young people in the modern, functional town of Cergy-Pontoise, on the outskirts of Paris. Relationships between them intersected and eventually each ended up with someone unexpected. Rohmer showed love and desire as something unexpected and random, full of twists and turns and possibilities. This is what, in her own way, filmmaker Zaida Carmona also achieves in Girlfriends and Girlfriends [+see also:
interview: Zaida Carmona
film profile
, her debut film (although the director has had an interesting career in short films) that was screened at the last edition of the D’A Film Festival in Barcelona and winner of the Un impulso Colectivo award, a section she participated in.

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As its title suggests, Girlfriends and Girlfriends is a very free and bold homage to Éric Rohmer's film. Carmona adds a twist to the French filmmaker's approach to recreate it and bring it to her own country. Now the love game occurs between a group of friends in the queer and culture vulture environment of Barcelona. The director herself plays a neurotic young woman obsessed with love, full of doubts and insecurities, who, after a break-up, returns to the Catalan capital where she gets back in touch with an old friend who will introduce her to her circle of friends, artists such as the filmmaker Alba Cros, the musician Rocío Saiz and the singer Aroa.

Girlfriends and Girlfriends above all addresses friendship, its relationship with love and desire, its complexity. Also with the fictions through which we try to tell our own stories, with cinema, music and the other arts. In doing so, the filmmaker presents a suggestive dialogue between fiction and reality. As well as being artists, the girlfriends are also friends in real life and this is very present in the film, in the director's way of seeing and narrating. It is partly from this game of mirrors between the fictional and the real that the magic and sincerity of the film emanates. There is something about that unique complicity of friendship that pervades it. This is another of its great virtues. Carmona reflects things as they are in life, without moralising or exemplifying pretensions, with truth. There is no condescension in how the protagonists are narrated. They are lesbians, but they are also much more. Characters with their own conflicts, dilemmas, setbacks, fears and desires, mistakes and successes. The director does something that does not happen in many supposedly "inclusive" and "diverse" films. She gives her characters the opportunity to be more than just a label. 

In the film there is also something of that free and daring feel of the first Almodóvar or of the "underground" cinema of his partner in crime and co-screenwriter Marc Ferrer, of his imagery, of his ways of portraying the soul of a place and a generation. With lightness and also a certain depth, to the rhythm of catchy pop songs, of the places the protagonists frequent or the clothes they wear, of how they relate to one other and to their environment, Carmona captures the unique world of the film.

Girlfriends and Girlfriends is a very personal tribute to films that have had an impact on its director, to the stories that have inspired her to dream. But, above all, to the friends who are a part of her life and to whom she is also indebted. It ultimately becomes a delightful film to watch, beautiful and hilarious. A film that manages to go beyond these references to stand on its own.

Girlfriends and Girlfriends is produced by FDEZ&VERA.

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(Translated from Spanish by Vicky York)

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