Feminism in the films of young director Maryulis Alfonso

In 2011 the filmmaker launched Misericordia (Mercy), a film of short duration that was conceived in the classrooms of the Camaguey University of the Arts. That work, carried out with the collaboration of other colleagues of the TV Station from Ciego de Ávila, pointed out the pattern with which the young director was addressing the issue of violence against women.

Nancy González, a long experienced television actress, accepted the proposal of Alfonso, student at the Faculty of Communication at that time, to embody a character subjected to strong everyday pressures, victim of humiliation and misunderstanding in the family environment. The director sought to expose the consequences of abuse against women in sexist environments, from its less obvious expression and without the clichés of the beatings and domestic fights.

With this small audiovisual production the young filmmaker began her training in literary versions, a procedure that appears in Las Ventanas, with a story by the writer Ana Lidia Vega Serova. It is important to note the careful adaptation that Alfonso achieves of the short story, little reported in our context despite the solidity of her work and the value of her narrative within what is known as the Cuban women's literature of the last 20 years.

Las Ventanas stays true to the aesthetics of writer Serova, who highly valued the power of silence, recreates in detail everyday environments and who conceives inexhaustible and hidden the subjectivity of human beings.

The short film, as its literary reference, addresses the issue of freedom, something that is the subject of much symbolism from close-ups and that is strongly reinforced through the soundtrack, designed by Víctor Quintanilla.

Lucia, the main character, is a woman who lives and works under the dictatorship of a controlling mother, which prevents the fulfilment of her most precious dreams. The fact that the main character is unable to rebel against this reality that imprisons and restricts her is the most important conflict in this story.

To recreate this fruitless pursuit of freedom, happiness or personal success, Maryulis Alfonso makes the protagonist open all the windows of her house every morning when she wakes up, as if being in touch with what is happening outside was the highest priority in her life. Lucia wants to do sports outdoors, wants the wind to flap her long dress, wants to be, in short, an independent woman.

With the brief, but decisive, participation of a male character who happens to congratulate this woman on her birthday and gives small birds of paper, the director stressed the need for the character to come out of the shell of the maternal home and have to fly to the world by herself.

This handling of feminist ideas has, without a doubt, numerous points of contact with what has been achieved in Misericordia. However, in this work the subtlety and allegory have been incorporated with much greater care. Lucia remains a victim of her own circumstances, as she is far away from the real world, her needs are too basic, and at the same time a reproductive classic model for the role of women in society. The protagonist is unwilling – or can't – live to the fullest, so appears here playing a game like a child creating a perfect home with a husband and also perfect children.

Lucia is a doll like those she casts with her hands of hand crafted, and she sees herself as such, but does not get rid of this condition, and when she tries to do so, in a blurred dream she finally ends up choosing self-destruction.

Las Ventanas, therefore, invites us to reflect on the complexity of human psychology and also on other issues such as the family and relationships between different generations.

The work of performance (in the leading roles are Verónica Lynn and Lyedi Pérez, Moron Theater actress) constitute indispensable pillars to provide nuance to this story, as well as the contrasts attained through photography and the management of indoor and outdoor locations.

This short film is clearly very successful. it was selected for Haciendo Cine de la Muestra Joven del ICAIC ('Making Film' section of the ICAIC's Youth Show.)

See original article here