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Review: (Revolution, Fulfil Your Promise) Red Love


- Dora Garcia invites us to observe the evolution of feminist movements from the viewpoint of an activist who used love as a revolutionary weapon

Review: (Revolution, Fulfil Your Promise) Red Love

(Revolution, Fulfil Your Promise) Red Love by Spanish artist Dora Garcia, which was presented in a world premiere within the Visions du Réel Festival’s Burning Lights section, takes an empathic and healthily provocative approach to investigate the indelible mark left by Russian revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai on Mexican queer and transfeminist movements (among others). By way of archive footage, extracts from texts and powerful testimonials from activists who are still fighting for the right to exist, Red Love helps us to understand that feminism should always be read in the plural. Starting from a queer and intersectional standpoint, Dora Garcia shows us just how crucial feminist battles are in the creation of a fairer, more tolerant and more open world for anyone who differs from the norm.

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And could love be the missing puzzle piece to win the revolution, a weapon so powerful it has the potential to break down a patriarchy which has appointed arrogance and violence as its warhorses? Alexandra Kollontai - an early 20th century Russian revolutionary, a Marxist, diplomatic feminist and a firm supporter of a kind of revolution which uses love to bring about radical social change - is convinced that this is the case. In her mind, solidarity is primarily based on emotional and spiritual ties between members of the same community, not just on a community united by similar interests. In this sense, affection, solidarity and love become the cement on which lasting ties overriding simple mutual interest are built.

Thanks to ingenious and effective editing combining archive footage preserving Kollontai’s memory (the scene where a dress belonging to the revolutionary is gently unpacked and carefully set down on an immaculate table, nigh-on ceremoniously, is particularly moving and poetic in this respect) with a portrait of a group of activists who share memories of difficult moments in her life and feminist demonstrations in Mexico City, Dora Garcia weaves a story composed of invisible threads. The links between these realities, which are markedly different in certain respects - theory, militant action and personal memories of a dangerously everyday violence - become clear and indissoluble through the filmmaking process. In this rich and complex story, Kollontai becomes the precious ally and source of inspiration for intersectional queer and feminist movements in Latin American and beyond.

The political potential of love is expressed in Red Love through touching testimonials from those who have experienced the violence of a ferocious and intolerant heteropatriarchal society first-hand. The story of the trans girl whom Dora Garcia films in heart-wrenching close-ups is especially poignant in this respect. Her face, on which the words “te quiero” are written, expresses itself above and beyond words, showing us how violence can leave its mark on our minds as well as on our bodies. Supported and listened to by a group of dissidents who have made empathy and listening their creed, the traumas of her past turn into a testimonial of a certain kind of violence which can’t and shouldn’t be tolerated any longer.

Determined to fight not only against the patriarchy but also against a unilateral, exclusive and white vision of feminism, these dissidents dream of a world where they can express their diversity with pride.

With (Revolution, Fulfil Your Promise) Red Love, Dora Garcia treats us to a political and militant movie, a potent concentrate of hope and tenderness which returns dignity to those whom society would silence because of their difference or, as Jack Halberstam would say with pride, because they’re magnificently flawed.

(Revolution, Fulfil Your Promise) Red Love is produced by Dora Garcia and Auguste Orts.

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(Translated from Italian)

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