‘Angélica’: a film that discusses racism and sexism in Puerto Rico

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A post by Peter Jordens.

Edwin Velázquez Collazo reports for Ausubo (review of Afro-Puerto Rican culture) on Angélica. Screened during October 2016 at the Caribbean Cinemas International Film Festival in San Juan, the film Angélica by Puerto Rican filmmaker Marisol Gómez Mouakad decries the problem of racism in Puerto Rico.

According to this young filmmaker, the film was shot between Puerto Rico and New York with funding from the Puerto Rico Film Corporation, Ibermedia and private donations. The director tells us that the movie came about after observing the effect that racism has on people and especially on women as they are frequently confronted by racist phrases such as “she is black, but elegant” or “she is a black woman who’s pretty” ― examples of a kind of normalization (of racism). With this movie, she intends to point out that here on the island there is racism too, that we must talk about it and recognize it as a disease of the Puerto Rican society.

The film addresses the problem of racism in Puerto Rico through the eyes of a black girl called Angélica, performed by the actress Michelle Nonó, who comes from a biracial home, with a white mother (Johanna Rosaly) and black father (Willie Denton). A family crisis forces her to confront her identity and her relationship with her family, and invites her to rethink her life in this psychological drama that illustrates how discrimination affects family and other relationships. In addition to the theme of racism, the film touches upon the implications of machismo in a patriarchal society from the perspective of women. Angelica faces decisions about her identity and rediscovers herself as a strong, independent, mulatto and Puerto Rican woman in a globalized world.

The film includes a cast of renowned actors such as Modesto Lacén, René Monclova, Johanna Rosaly, Yamil Collazo and Kisha Tikina Burgos, among other local actors. For more information, visit http://www.angelicathemovie.com or contact the screenwriter and director Marisol Gomez Mouakad at hormigacinema@gmail.com.

The original article (in Spanish) is available at http://afropuertorico.blogspot.com/2017/02/angelica-una-pelicula-puertorriquena.html.

Film teaser: https://vimeo.com/150479172

Film synopsis from the website: Angélica dreams of a major career as a fashion designer in New York, but has not got much further than a boring sewing job. After a long absence from Puerto Rico, she returns to the island when her father, Wilfredo, suffers a heart attack. The unexpected return to the house where she grew up, plus her father’s illness, force Angélica to re-evaluate her relationship with her mother, who has always disdained her because of her race, with family members who are clearly racist, and with her partner in New York, who travels to Puerto Rico in an attempt to recapture her. All this will force her to face herself and discover that she does not know who she is, and moreover that she does not accept herself. After the death of her father, Angélica must decide whether to return to the comfort of her previous life, dissatisfied but secure, or set on an adventurous path to rediscover herself as an independent woman, modern, strong, mulatto and Puerto Rican, in a globalized world on the cusp of the twenty-first century.

Angélica will have its world premiere on April 7, 2017 at the 6th Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam (Curaçao, April 5-9, 2017).

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