Carmen and Lola offers a love story between two Roma girls facing the deeply homophobic mindset of their cultural background, which is both particular due to their heritage, and universal, as its equivalents can still be found across the globe.
The eponymous teenagers Carmen and Lola (Rosy Rodriguez and Zaira Morales respectively) are both part of a deeply religious and traditional Roma community in Madrid, in which same-sex love and attraction are not only despised, but their existence is simply denied. Yet despite the obstacles they face, they fall in love, dreaming of a future outside the strict limitations their culture offers, in which the only option for a girl is the role of wife and mother.
Inevitably, the film finds its climax in the reveal of the girls’ secret love affair, but it ends on a positive note as they make their escape to the seaside. The happy ending, however, is one that lies in the eye of the beholder: the realist viewer knows, after all, that they stand little chance of surviving on their own without an education, jobs (or even applicable work-skills), or the support of family and friends.
In her first feature film – which was screened in the 2018 Cannes Director’s Fortnight – director Arantxa Echevarria has assembled an entire cast of non-professional Roma actors, who bring a raw and truthful energy to their performance, as well as the portrayal of their own culture.
The film has its faults in the heavy-handed symbolism of imprisonment and freedom , as well as the predictable structure, but these are outweighed by its rare and authentic portrayal of Roma in cinema, as well as the hopeful message it carries for those members of the LGBT community who face similar obstacles.
CAST: Zaira Romero, Rosy Rodriguez, Moreno Borja, Rafaela León, Carolina Yuste
DIRECTOR: Arantxa Echevarría
WRITERS: Arantxa Echevarría
SYNOPSIS: The love story between two teenage Roma girls.