(Release Info London schedule; February 23rd, 2018, Curzon Soho, 18:20)
"A Fantastic Woman"
Marina Vidal (Daniela Vega) and Orlando (Francisco Reyes) are in love and planning for the future. Marina is a young waitress and aspiring singer. Orlando is 20 years older than her, and owns a printing company. After celebrating Marina’s birthday one evening, Orlando falls seriously ill. Marina rushes him to the emergency room, but he passes away just after arriving at the hospital. Instead of being able to mourn her lover, suddenly Marina is treated with suspicion. The doctors and Orlando’s family don’t trust her. A woman detective investigates Marina to see if she was involved in his death. Orlando’s ex-wife forbids her from attending the funeral. And to make matters worse, Orlando’s son threatens to throw Marina out of the flat she shared with Orlando. Marina is a trans woman and for most of Orlando’s family, her sexual identity is an aberration, a perversion. So Marina struggles for the right to be herself. She battles the very same forces that she has spent a lifetime fighting just to become the woman she's now, a complex, strong, forthright and fantastic woman.
Marina is a 27-year-old waitress and singer. She's Orlando’s partner, with whom she has an adult, loving, and committed relationship, in spite of their differences in age and social class. Marina, though far from being perfect, is a resilient woman who has quite an impressive level of compromise with her own life. She loves deeply, and this gives her the opportunity of loving herself and overcoming any adversity. She’s a brave fighter who doesn’t falter when the world puts her to the test. She has a vital force that's capable of carrying her through against all odds. Today, while all of us are somehow standing on the edge of a precipice, she doesn’t even look at it, and searches for beauty instead. She understands that even Orlando’s death, or what her being transgender means to everyone else, will not keep her from pushing forward.
Orlando has broken away from his family. With the exception of his brother, who admires him greatly. He has neither his ex-wife’s nor his son’s comprehension, nor that of the rest of the family, whom after his death, unleash all of the violence provoked by ignorance and vulnerability before the unknown onto Marina. But this is not an issue for him, and he surrenders to his relationship without considering anybody’s opinion or stance. He doesn’t question himself over whether the person he loves is a man, a woman, or a transgender person, and this honest and authentic attitude surrounds him with a natural aura that prevents other people from interfering with him. There’s no intellectual or ideological defense of his relationship with Marina. His great defense is the authentic love that he feels for her.
To Orlando, Marina is an inspiring being that gives him new wings with which to enjoy life, that connects him to his love for what's honest, and allows him to find peace, affection, and company in her. Although he appears to be a regular man, he possesses a great internal strength, freedom, and courage that allows him to see Marina and recognize her as an extraordinary and kind being. For her part, Marina, whose life is a constant struggle to live harmoniously within her social setting, recognizes in Orlando the simplicity and authenticity of this mature man, and discovers a refuge in him: a true and calm love. The two meet in their courage and in the conscious or unconscious search for what specific beautiful and authentic. It’s a story of true love; Marina and Orlando simply love each other, and after meeting, they've discovered a refuge in one another. To them, the differences in their ages and sexual cultures are not barriers. It’s inspiring to see how two beings whose intimacies are unknown to us, and whose lives we could prejudge maliciously, surrender themselves without hesitation, without fear, and without fuss, to a relationship in which judgments on good and evil, on what’s correct and what’s incorrect, what’s normal and abnormal, simply aren’t issues. Where a space for love is simply made evident and recognized.
This film is about the way in which we understand relationships and affection, as well as the way in which we conceive love. The film, like Marina, it's central character, is not afraid of pleasure and, like her, has a striking and shiny surface. It tries to combine the narrative and the visual pleasure in games of appearances that want to captivate, a sort of 'Trojan Horse' loaded with humanity. So, regardless of his or her beliefs, values, or vision of the world, from watching her so much, the viewer ends up feeling like her, and from empathizing with her so much, the viewer wants to see her survive and prevail. The film invites us to feel like others, to experiment emotions that are often new to us, and these discoveries occur not within the ﬁlm, but within the viewers themselves. The film prepares us for life and allows us to explore our spiritual elasticity. The film asks the viewer to surrender him or herself to a challenging journey, and to do so with wide-open arms. To feel that he or she has seen something beautiful, to feel that he or she was in contact with beauty.
The film is a more complex construction than "Gloria", because it's several films at the same time. But in spite of the fact that "A Fantastic Woman" exists in a different cinematographic territory that operates far beyond realism, it has, just as with "Gloria", a higher inclination towards questions than towards answers. At the same time, it examines and exalts a powerful female character, yet for several reasons, "A Fantastic Woman" is much more than a film about a woman. "A Fantastic Woman" is a film of aesthetic splendor, narrative vigor, tension and emotion. Polytonal, multi- experiential, multi-emotional. It’s a film that's both a celebration and examination of it's main character, Marina Vidal. What will the viewers see when they see Marina? A woman, a man, or the sum of both? They will see a human being who constantly changes before their eyes, who flows, vibrates, and modifies herself. What they're seeing isn’t precisely what they're seeing, and this condition turns Marina into a vortex that attracts the viewer’s fantasy and desire, inviting them to explore the limits of their own empathy.