‘Carmen y Lola’, homosexuality in the gypsy community

Carolina Yuste, actress, Arancha Echevarría, director, and Pilar Sánchez, productor of ‘Carmen y Lola’

10/22/2018.- “More than a movie, it’s a miracle”. This is how Arantxa Echevarría presented her latest film, Carmen & Lola, included in the Spanish Cinema section of the 63rd Valladolid International Film Festival.

The feature film tells the love story between two teenage gypsy women from the outskirts of Madrid who have a great mutual understanding despite being very different from each other. Arantxa Echevarría’s debut film has made her the first Spanish film director selected for the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.

150 non-professional actors and actresses are cast on the film. “There were more than 1,000 people in the casting, but many of them left when they heard what the film was about”, Echevarría told the audience in the room. “It was 2009 when I first heard of two gypsy girls getting married. They used false names and had their backs turned in the photo. It was at that moment that I decided I wanted to write a script that would help those girls in the photo turn round”, explained Echevarría.

Carolina Yuste, the only professional actress in the film, talked about how she dealt with combining her jobs as both coach and actress during shooting hours: “In the letter scene we were inside with Rafaela. It was hard. She would tell us to leave her alone and after a while she started crying, because she had been thinking about the sad things in her life. It’s a gift how they internalized their characters without being professional performers”, she admitted to the audience.

For Arantxa Echevarría, the script was like “catching a fish instead of a paper. The dialogues were often unscripted, because the words we payos[1] use are not the same as the words used by people from the gypsy community”.

With an ending that pays a tribute to The 400 Blows by François Truffaut, a major reference for Arantxa Echevarría, the director concluded that “we mustn’t forget that the film’s true message is that love does not abide by genders or races“.

[1] The word used by people from the gypsy community to refer to non-gipysy people.

Posted in 63rd Seminci.