Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Lesbians of Buenos Aires|
Actor: Santiago Garcia
Director: Santiago Garcia
Genres: Indie & Art House, Gay & Lesbian, Documentary
A celebration of the diversity of Buenos Aires` lesbian community, LESBIANS OF BUENOS AIRES brings to the fore some of the many voices which have been neglected for too long. From a lesbian soccer coach to a lesbian activi... more »
Latin American Lesbians Make a "Tongues Untied"
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 03/29/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Obviously, a lesbian from Argentina took out a video camera and interviewed her friends. There are few interviewees; they are filmed repetitiously when other items could have been filmed; and they are not that diverse as a group. (One woman looks like her jaw was broken, but it never comes up why.) However, if you feel that lesbians face hyperinvisibility as a doubly-oppressed group, then you will applaud any coverage that breaks that silence and highlights them.
In lesbian and gay studies circles, the idea of social constructionism--the idea that identity varies based upon time, place, class, and other factors--is championed over essentialism--the idea that certain categories are universal. Though these women are in a developing nation, they bring up themes similar to Western lesbians: they support feminism, they discuss parents that took them to psychiatrists, they support abortion rights, some desire to be mothers, etc. Though they briefly mention the infamous, Argentinian human rights of the 1980s, you would almost not know this wasn't a "First World" area. At one point, there's a scene where Buenos Aires looks just like Washington, D.C. with its Capitol Hill.
American lesbian authors and activists have often noted how important women's sports were to them. Since what Americans call soccer is a big deal to Argentinians, then of course this topic was brought up here. Still, it was beat into the ground. At one point, they show one interviewee coaching women for about three minutes and it had NOTHING to do with being a South American lesbian. There is a book about Argentinian masculinity and it says tango is just as important to that nation as soccer, but tango never comes up in this documentary. Even though the film "Tango" features beautiful dances sequences with women-with-women and men-with-men, there are no cute, all-female tango couples here.
Related to the absence of tango, this documentary is just not diverse. These were middle-aged lesbians and no younger lesbians, bisexual women, or gay men show up. The interviewees say they hate gay pride parades, but again, maybe that's due to their age and the presence of a mixed-gender setting. It's never discussed how gay pride parades can be empowering for some lesbians. All the interviewees have long hair, even though many lesbians have stated that cutting their hair was a part of the process of them coming out. Supposedly, Argentina is one of the most racially UNdiverse countries in Latin America. Though socioeconomic class is brought up, the fact that some women looked European and some a bit indigenous never comes up.
In addition to the lack of diversity, this was frustratingly apolitical. If I heard correctly, Argentina is one of only two Latin American countries with sodomy laws, yet the interviewees never lament that type of oppression. Scholar Jesus Quiroga wrote about how Latin Americans sometimes wears masks at gay pride parades, to show their numbers but not be discovered. The bravery that takes never comes up as the interviewees dismiss those parades. Many lesbians in the United States lament that too much attention is given to gay men and not to them. The interviewees here never mention gay men at all. You'd almost conclude they don't exist in Argentina. It's never asked whether homophobia is so directed to gay men in that country that maybe lesbians go unnoticed, and thus unvilified.
I am pleased that I saw this work. I'm happy that it was produced and distributed internationally. Still, it's a bit amateurish and rough around the edges."