Wednesday
October 22, 2014

Albertina Carri, filmmaker

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

‘I use the word ‘dyke’ a lot, as I feel that it defines me’

By Pablo Suárez
For the Herald

CV
1973, Buenos Aires
Education: Universidad del Cine (FUC)
Favourite Argentine films: Ostende (Laura Citarella), Rapado (Martín Rejtman), Fin de fiesta (Leopoldo Torre Nilsson)
Favourite Asterisco festival films: Focus on Rosa Von Praunheim, Jean Genet, and Claudio Caldini.

As the first edition of Asterisco, the first film festival of sexual diversity in Argentina, kicks off today, its artistic director and indie filmmaker Albertina Carri met with the Herald to talk about groundbreaking movies, other realities, diverse forms of love and enjoyment, and the growing rights of the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersexual, queer) community. Talk about a busy agenda.

What was the first step in creating the Asterisco film festival?

Carlos Pisoni, the Undersecretary of the National Office for the Promotion of Human Rights, gave me a call and asked me why there wasn’t a film festival on sexual diversity in Argentina — which was a very good question — and I said I didn’t know why. I thought it was a great idea, and I started working on the project.

What are some distinctive traits of Asterisco?

It’s a great opportunity to see cinema from other places and to know other realities, other lifestyles. What’s important to understand is that these other ways of feeling and living don’t imply any kind of loss for other people. That I marry a woman doesn’t mean that everybody has to marry a person of their same sex. Same-sex marriage and gender identity laws are good ways to learn how to live with equality and diversity. They are also ways to live more happily, as each person can find out where their own desire, needs and wants lie.

What can viewers find in the section La piel que habito / The Skin I Live In?

It’s the biggest section of the festival, and the most festive one. For instance, there’s horror cinema, films on visibility with openly gay and lesbian characters, and films by Bruce LaBruce and G.B. Jones of the Homo Core movement of Canada, films by Álvaro Buela, Marco Berger, Diego Schipani, Xavier Dolan, and Jeffrey Schwarz — among many others.

Within the LGTTB community, which minority is less visible?

To begin with, there are no films about the “I” (intersexuality). I was also quite surprised to see that there aren’t many movies about the “L” (lesbian), whereas as regards the “T” (transvestite, transsexual, transgender) there’s quite a lot of material, especially short films. But what happens with lesbians is hard to believe since it’s one of the most complex identities. And their stories are very dramatic, even oppressive. I believe we have highly inflammable material.

How about Pioneros Queer / Pioneers of Queer?

It’s a tribute to Argentine filmmakers who made films about diversity in very difficult times. I’m talking about Edgardo Cozarinsky, Susana Blaustein, Jorge Acha, and Jorge Polaco.

What about the section Vampiras lesbianas y otros monstruos homoeróticos (Lesbian Vampires and Other Homoerotic Monsters)?

For starters, you can see five great horror films. In general terms, lesbians have always been represented as some kind of monsters. You have women in prison B-movies and vampire movies — always bad and evil. We thought we should rescue these monsters. And then we added the homoerotic monsters of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed and Hellraiser, two classics of queer culture.

Among the guests and jury members, there’s German filmmaker Monika Treut.

Personally, I think having her here is very significant. She’s a superb filmmaker almost completely unknown in Argentina for her films have never been screened locally. She’s a very prolific director, we’ll screen five of her films and open the festival with Of Girls and Horses, her new film that premiered at Berlinale. She’s very intense, very avant-garde, very radical.

Changing the topic, and on a more personal note, you have a five-year-old child with journalist and activist Marta Dillon and graphic designer Alejandro Ros. Did you always want to be a mother?

No, on the contrary. All my life I said I didn’t want to have children, even when I had heterosexual partners. But, at a certain point, that changed and I realized I did want to have a child. But I was single then and didn’t want to have a child on my own. I thought it was too big a responsibility. So I forgot about it. But as soon as I started dating Marta, the desire came back quite soon. I wanted to build something and be more.

What were your first doubts about being a mother?

I’d always thought I was a very fearless and secure person, but I discovered I was the most insecure woman in the world. That was quite impressive. When Furio, my son, was about two-years-old, I used to take him to the park, and I’d think everything in the playground was huge and monstrous for him. Now that he’s five, I see the playground and think I was crazy. Being a mother is some kind of psychosis.

Alejandro Ros donated his sperm, and you were inseminated with the help of Marta and a homemade method in a hotel. Do the three of you live together as a family?

Alejandro is Furio’s father, but he doesn’t live with us. He sees him once or twice a week, as a separated but very friendly parent.

Why did you get married?

Because otherwise Furio wouldn’t have been our son in legal terms, since he was born before the same-sex law. During his first two years, he was legally the son of a single mother. At the same time, it was activism on our part. The law was a very important victory.

How does marriage shape the stability and growth of love in a couple?

In that sense, I think it’s very negative. No doubt about that. Marriage has nothing to do with love. On the other hand, I’ve always liked these sorts of appropriations. I use the word “dyke” a lot, it’s a word that defines me. And I feel these appropriations are useful.

To many lesbians, the word “dyke” is derogatory.

Because it was born in a derogatory manner in a derogatory context.

Talking of the meaning of words, I understand that Nora, the butcher in your neighbourhood, calls Marta your “friend.”

She doesn’t call her my “friend” anymore. But she doesn’t say “your wife” either. I don’t remember what she calls her. I think she has learned our names by now.

Let’s talk about the debate regarding the Same Sex Marriage law.

Many people said awful, barbaric things, but also lots of people supported the law and pointed out the cruelty of these barbarisms. More people than I imagined were in favour of the law. I was appalled by many of the things they said, but I was also happily impressed by how strongly they were criticized. Years ago, perhaps the LGBTIQ community wouldn’t have fought back as it did now. I mean, you have to be strong to confront so much abuse. A law is not something you can impose overnight. But our society was ready for the law; it was a very popular and open debate. I truly think there’s been a big cultural change.

@pablsuarez

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