Living and Other Fictions: I also need to love
by Alfonso Rivera
- Jo Sol continues to garner praise for his fourth film, a bold and courageous plea for freedom, truth and full sexuality, with neither physical nor prejudicial limitations
The world premiere of Living and Other Fictions [+see also:
interview: Jo Sol
film profile] – the fourth feature film by Jo Sol, after the radical and daring Tatawo, Fake Orgasm and The Taxi Thief – took place during the most recent San Sebastián Film Festival. When he met the press, Luis Miñarro, the associate producer and, through his company Eddie Saeta, a crucial figure in the European independent cinema landscape, defined the film as “urgent, an anomaly in the Spanish film industry”. But this has not prevented it from being selected by numerous festivals (Cinemed, Nantes, Lecce, Istanbul…) since September 2016 – or perhaps it is precisely its radical and atypical nature that has helped it to achieve such a feat. It has finally ended up at D'A in Barcelona, just days before its long-awaited premiere in Spanish theatres.
The film, which feeds off reality to nourish a tale of fiction, shatters a taboo that other European films (like National 7 (Uneasy Rider), Me, Too [+see also:
film profile] and Come As You Are [+see also:
interview: Geoffrey Enthoven
film profile]) have dared to expose openly: the sex lives of people with physical or mental disabilities. And Jo Sol, more aware of the militant, necessary and pressing message of his creation than the artistic, formal or technical aspects, has given voice to his two main characters. They are a quixotic duo, with one soldiering on through the world in pursuit of his ideals despite his bodily limitations, and the other being faced with a personal situation, weighed down by the ghosts of his past and present, which prevent him from moving forward.
The duo in question comprises José Rovira, who starred in The Taxi Thief, fresh out of jail and psychiatric treatment, and Antonio Centeno, a tetraplegic writer who shamelessly lays bare his situation, his needs and the accursed obstacles in his way – be they social, moral or hypocritical – to the world. These are the obstacles he comes up against when the time comes to assert his status as a citizen with rights, desires and needs, and this aspect of the film, based on the protagonist's own political militancy, lifts the lid on a reality that may be uncomfortable for certain members of the audience – those more accustomed to seeing nothing but perfect bodies and faces in the theatres, a perfection imposed on us by the most mainstream and easy-going brand of cinema.
An essential element of Living and Other Fictions is anguish: not only because of what we see, but also because of what we hear and feel, and this alternates with a wonderful, marvellous, brave and enviable sense of humour that pervades the entire running time. Peppered with the shiver-inducing voice and flamenco songs of Niño de Elche, the film reminds us of our own fragility, normalises perspectives and encourages us to fight to experience a full life, where our condition, age or physical state do not matter in this world plagued by ever-decaying ethics.
Living and Other Fictions is a film that was made possible thanks to private donors through crowdfunding, and was produced by Shaktimetta Produccions, with Luis Miñarro (Eddie Saeta) on board as associate producer.
(Translated from Spanish)
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