RaraLondon Film Festival 2016
6th October 2016 6.30pm at Ritzy Cinema
8th October 2016 12.15pm at Cineworld Haymarket
Set in Chile, Rara is based on the true story of a judge who lost a custody battle because of her sexual orientation. Written by Alicia Scherson and directed by Pepa San Martín, the film is a simple tale about a family of two young girls, their lesbian mothers (Mariana Loyola and Agustina Muñoz) and how they cope in a world that is slow to accept same sex couples, especially those with children.
Told from the perspective of 13-year-old Sara (Julia Lubbert), she and her younger sister, Catalina (Emilia Ossandon), are apparently well-adjusted, contented kids who bicker and behave like average pre-teens. Although they are happy with their “mothers” (one is the biological mother), there is a tendency for the adults in this story to focus on their own lives while perhaps not sufficiently taking into account the welfare of their offspring. With all night drinking, parties, and the public flaunting of their relationship in rebellion against homophobia – despite their mothers’ advice to be more cautious – the ramifications caused for their daughters are not considered. Yet, regardless of their father’s pressure to live with him and his wife, Sara and Catalina are happy where they are, as their home life is mostly positive, loving and normal. In essence, had she not been a lesbian, it is likely their mother would have been granted custody.
Quite a charming film, the two girls are natural actresses who play typical kids to perfection. Lubbert’s portrayal of a confused teen is admirably realistic, and Ossandon as the needy, quirky little Cata is remarkable. The use of camera techniques is unusual, such as very low-angled shots, sometimes ground level – perhaps to symbolise a variety of viewpoints – and extended close-ups are frequent. The opening scene follows the back of Sara’s head as she walks through her school, which immediately highlights the narrative’s context and Sara’s central role therein.
Although the pacing can seem a little slow at times, with extended representations of ordinary domestic activities that border on the banal, they show that a family is a family, regardless of the parents’ sexual orientation. As a whole, Rara is an affectionate, endearing, meaningful take on family life from an LGBT perspective, reflecting the community’s continuing struggle to gain equal rights and respect in the world.
Rara does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Rara here: