In progress - full-length documentary film
While living abroad, Marie, an upper middle-class 24-year-old gender fluid Dominican finds herself in a friendship with Sory, a 43-year-old Dominican hairdresser, mother of three, and lesbian from Los Mina's ghetto; back into Santo Domingo Marie start a relationship with the hairdresser's daughter, her age, mother of two; a women from a different social class that is openly rediscovering herself.
Script: Javier Maria http://www.javiermaria.com/ Marie Jiménez
Photography: Sofia Marcos https://www.sofiamarcos.com/
Sound: Pablo Dalí Bonnelly Germán
Graphics: José Juan Morban
Production: Fernando Santo Dias http://guasabaracine.com/web/
Production: Cuaba.SRL https://www.instagram.com/cuaba_/?hl=en
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DECLARATION OF INTENT
This film is a reflection on migration; with the encounter of two different migratory experiences, mine and from a working class woman. Although we are from different social realities, we share the longing for not wanting to live, ever again, in Dominican Republic.
I was born and raised in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic; in a society defined by sexism, patriarchy, Catholicism, and an immense cultural barrier between the lower and upper class.
The Dominican Republic is paradoxically a Eurocentric country that relies on Americentrism. Its diaspora is immensely concern on redefining dominicanness. I don’t believe a nation is a container of an original culture, therefor there isn’t a thing as an ‘original’ cultural identity. Culture is always in constant flux, just like the Dominican’s, which is a mixture of believes and traditions from all over the world. For over 500 years, the island has been a destination for exiles and refugees, but most recently, in the past 100 years Dominicans have been massively emigrating, changing the course of constructing and understanding its culture of migration.
I lived for several years in Washington Heights, a neighborhood in upper Manhattan, NYC, where the largest concentration of Dominicans in the US is located. Here, over half a million Dominicans recreate and redefine our culture; social classes mix and boundaries are blurred. Around the diaspora I discovered how freedom and acceptance feels, close to a culture that dances Bachata and Dembow, and follows magic-religious traditions. The popular music is a type of rhythmic verse, full of double sense, where words are used without shyness. This music generates a slang that empower minorities, along with the preservation of religious practices that respects the island’s first cultural clash. With the Taino (native indians), African, and Spanish traditions we can speak of diversity as a better example of dominicannes. Sory’s hair salon becomes the space where all of this is enacted, where we encounter central issues of migration and we can question nations interests in the ‘preservation’ of an original cultural identity.
From my house in Barcelona I could listen to the bachata and the loud voices of women speaking all at once. The first time I entered the hair salon, Sory was drying a woman’s hair while saying: ‘that’s like a women telling me “lets have a quickie”… of course Ima say yes!’. From that moment on Sory captured all my attention.
The making of this documentary, discovering how the hairdresser made it to Spain, and how she was managing to bring her son, became the axis of our relationship. I imagined that at some point we would converge on the reason on wanting to stay outside the Dom. Rep, and because of this, I thought that in some moment we could empathize with our condition as emigrants. However, our vast cultural difference didn’t let it happen, bringing to the surface issues of our imbalanced relationship.
Most of the Dominican diaspora are emigrants for economic reasons. These emigrants represent a big part of the Dominican population, and from them depends a big part of our economy. Today remittance makes up an 8% of the Gross Domestic Product. Entire families live of remittances, just like the Sory’s family. From Spain, she provides more than enough for a dignified live for her son, daughter and grandchildren.
Nations interest on homogenizing culture, a central issue on the topic of migration, affects directly the characters of this film. This is well addressed in this project by focusing in the intentions, and the manners used by the hairdresser to reunite her family in a foreign country, Spain. The hair dresser has adopted the Spanish culture as her own, affecting the education, traditions and believes of the people she has maintained connection with her, in her home country.
Back in Santo Domingo I met Lisset, and I realized how Sory’s emigration affected positively the quality of life of her family. The remittances Lisset received allowed her to have a higher education than that those surrounding her, granting her a better understanding of what’s outside the island. This allowed a relationship between us to develop, however the clash of our social differences made me question if it was a friendship or not.