- Director: Joanna Reposi Garibaldi
- Writer: Joanna Reposi Garibaldi; Manuel Maira
It would be interesting to see how Pedro Lemebel would have been received, regarded and ridiculed in today's [crazy touchy-feely] climate...he was a furious critic of the hetero-normalisation of homosexuality...in other words, same-sex marriage would have made his blood boil.
So...how would he have gone down in a North American/European context? He - most certainly - was a divisive character in his own country. Further afield, he'd probably be considered - as many performance artists are - eccentric and tolerable in [very] small doses. And even smaller doses when he spouted on about [his] HIV/AIDS conspiracies.
He was a writer of note. As an activist, he was a different kettle of fish altogether...
In his mind...Pedro Lemebel represented the [gay] descamisados...the shirtless ones, the poor, the uneducated. In reality, he didn't...he was flamboyant in life, in work, in words, in activism and in thought...extravagances the poor can ill afford. But, in keeping with all activists, he was right...no matter how hypocritical they were/are!
His more controversial ideas have been conveniently omitted from this documentary-cum-obituary...by a dear friend. Expect praise, more praise and absolutely no criticism.
If this had been made by a less doting filmmaker, we may have gotten to see what made the man tick and what broke his tock...that's a job for someone else. This is a tribute...no more, no less...of a man, of a time, of a place. Call it sycophantic, one-sided, abridged or censored...it's all of these. But...it is [fittingly & deservedly] respectful. All light, no shade.
Pedro Lemebel’s sharp-tongued, poetic texts and provocative performances made him one of South America’s most important contemporary artists. In dictatorial Chile under Pinochet, Lemebel expressed things that only few dared to say. Even for the country’s left-wing opposition, his camp, eccentric appearances made him an awkward figure as he held up the mirror to their own machismo and homophobia. Loud and open, he embodied and propagated an uncomfortable gay identity and vehemently criticised the desire of some ‘gays’ to be assimilated into a heteronormative society.
Joanna Reposi Garibaldi uses countless slides and video clips to shape this essay-like memento which is multilayered in both its visuals and its content and possesses a subtle sound design. She has enhanced it with intimate recordings and interviews. By projecting images of Lemebel’s performances onto public buildings, she not only underscores their character as interventions in public spaces, but also creates unusual additional visual levels for her film. Lemebel portrays a tireless fighter who continued to speak out right up until the end of his life.