La Libertad (2017)

By Mónica Delgado

In the first minutes of La Libertad, a group of women is observed from fragmentation. Their faces are barely shown and their physiognomies are out of field, shown from their main actions of survival: cooking, knitting, kneading. But during the passing of minutes, Colombian filmmaker Laura Huertas Millán, influenced by the statements of the Sensory Ethnographic Lab, proposes an articulation of a feminine clan in the rural zones of Mexico, with the tradition of handicraft and the urgent resistance and economical independence of women.

One of the characters, a woman who knits a piece that will soon be for sale, indicates that “The job is the most entertaining and quiet moment”. Thus, from testimonies of different woman which are part of a familiar group, the filmmaker not only threads an structure that proofs the certainty that this freedom is based in self-management, but also affirms themselves in a conception on the necessity of work, far from alienation and exploitation. In La Libertad of Huertas Millán, women work to be absolutely free.

Huertas proposes the description of a conviction: that marriage is a male chauvinist institution that mutilates rights. Not only for women, but also for the men who have lived inside this matriarchal influence, that allows them to value other aspects of freedom, allows them to explore their own capacities and continue maintaining an ancestral tradition, of popular art, crafting and community knowledge.

The interest of La Libertad is not only in its thesis, but in the layers that Huertas Millán achieves from the appearance of the ethnographic registry, of close shots, of the capture of sounds to construct a metaphor about this concretion, from the marrow of the feminine fortress, without stridencies or activist spiels.

Director, script: Laura Huertas Millán
Cast: Crispina Navarro, Gerardo Navarro, Inés Navarro, Margarita Navarro, Mariana de Navarro
Cinematography, sound, editing: Laura Huertas Millán
Producer: Laura Huertas Millán
With the support of Arquetopia Foundation and International Artist Residency, Videobrasil, Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, PSL University, Film Study Center and Sensory Ethnography Lab (Harvard University)
Colombia, France, USA, 2017