Carmen & Lola Drama

TIFF Next Wave Review: ‘Carmen & Lola’

February 15, 2019Sara Clements

Directed by Arantxa Echevarría, Carmen & Lola is a heartbreaking Spanish drama with a beautiful love story at its center. The film follows two gypsy girls, Carmen (who is recently engaged and dreaming of owning her own hair salon) and Lola (a street artist dreaming of becoming a teacher, but who is forced to spend most of her days helping her father out at his fruit stand).

Marriage and children are constantly being pushed on Lola, but she has a secret that could destroy her family: She's a lesbian. Lola befriends Carmen, and while at first her feelings are met with hostility, Carmen eventually accepts them and breaks free from the confines of the society she lives in. We then see the pair's love for each other grow and develop into something incredibly pure and intimate. This intimacy is not produced in ways audiences are used to, however. For example, in the sex scenes, we are provided with a type of calm eroticism through the framing of the characters' glances and slight touches, along with dance sequences between the two.

Echevarría also provides discourse on the differences between the primarily Caucasian population of Spain and the gypsy minority that Lola and Carmen belong to. For while the two may reside in the same country, these groups share differing views on homosexuality, and the director doesn't shy away from showing the brutal consequences that can result because of this innocent act of love.

Carmen & Lola screens Sunday, February 17th at TIFF Next Wave. Its runtime is 1 hr. 43 min.

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