Cine Argentina : Villa Rosa
In 1995, the Villa Rosa was built on the outskirts of Buenos Aires: a neighbourhood of cardboard houses with no electricity or drinking water, whose inhabitants were the gay and transgender community relegated to street life, with no possibility of getting a stable job or a decent house to live in.
The Villa Rosa is the setting for Mía, an Argentinean feature film set in the months leading up to the demolition of the Villa and in the context of negotiations with the authorities to prevent it.
Javier van der Couter, director of the production, tells the origins of the story: "this Villa arose because an archbishop said that all gays and transvestites had to go and live on an island so as not to harm society. So many poor transvestites who were living on the streets started to live there and formed a community".
As van der Couter explains, the aim was not to be forced into prostitution but to be able to work collecting aluminium or cardboard, a very dignified job in Buenos Aires. And it was while collecting cardboard that Ale, a transgender inhabitant of Villa Rosa, found Mía's diary. The film's protagonist quickly identifies with this woman she doesn't know and with her greatest pain: not loving her daughter as she should.
After his death, his daughter Julia is left, in the words of the director, thirsty for love.
"What sums up the film for me is the bond between Ale the transvestite and Julia the girl, who are from two totally different realities, from very different social classes, but somehow that union and that friendship is what the film is about," explains van der Couter.
Cine Argentina Villa Rosa | Amsterdam World Cinema
Mía has been screened at the open-air sessions of the Amsterdam World Film Festival.
Despite not being one of the competing films, in its first screening alone more than 1000 people came to the popular Voldenpark to see it. The fact is that Latin American cinema is finding more and more followers in Dutch and European society.
"Cinema in recent years has been dedicated to discovering new film auteurs, and each director is authentic in what he or she says," says van der Couter.says van der Couter.
The Latin American participation at the Amsterdam World Film Festival was completed with the successful open-air screening of Mía, a feature film about the life of a transsexual woman in Buenos Aires.
The case of Mía, despite narrating a crude social reality, stands out for its aesthetic beauty. For the Villa Rosa was no ordinary villa, says its director: "they lived near a very wealthy neighbourhood, and they gathered materials such as a Persian carpet or a divine mirror, so they were ranches full of glamour".
The stigmatisation of transgender people in Argentina has diminished since the years when the Villa Rosa was built and demolished. In recent months, the Latin American country has brought a legal openness that places it among the most tolerant countries for the LGBT community.