Finlandia (2021)

Finlandia
Director: Horacio Alcala
Writer: Horacio Alcala, Jesús Caballero
Cast: Noé Hernández, Cuauhtli Jiménez, Andrea Guasch, Graciela Orozco, Érick Israel Consuelo, Leonardo Alonso, Raquel Menor Rodriguez
Part of: Transition International Queer Minority Film Festival
Seen on: 6.2.2022

Plot:
Delirio (Noé Hernández) is something like the matriarch of muxe in his town. She dreams of a married man she met many years ago and who now lives in Finland, yet still writes postcards to her. She makes artfully embroidered clothing together with Amaranta (Cuauhtli Jiménez) and others. The intricate, colorful designs have caught the eye of a fashion company all the way in Spain. They send Marta (Andrea Guasch) to Mexico to scope out the designs – and steal them. But Marta is unsure about her assignment, especially after she gets to know Amaranta a little better.

Finlandia is a gorgeous film that is less interested in its story than in exploring the world of the muxe. I am unsure, though, whether any of the actors actually are muxe themselves which is a pity to say the least.

The film poster showing Amaranta (Cuauhtli Jiménez) in an elaborate headdress, tears in her eyes.

I regret that I was not able to see Finlandia on the big screen, because it is one hell of a gorgeous movie. Starting with the wonderful fashion that is set in scene very effectively to the documentarian cinematography that ground the more ethereal qualities of the film in reality. That juxtaposition makes the film appear to be much more magical than it actually is when you look at it closely.

In any case, it is very understandable that the fashion world takes notice of muxe style, and I say that as someone who really doesn’t give a damn about fashion in general. The film includes a nice bit of social commentary here, talking about the global exploitation that shapes so much of the fashion world.

Amaranta (Cuauhtli Jiménez) walking with Xquenda (Érick Israel Consuelo).

But the focus is, of course, the muxe and their lives. I thought that the film gives us a good glimpse into it, although I do think it’s problematic that the main actors aren’t actually muxe themselves (as far as I can tell at least). I also was a little bothered by the plot surrounding Marta. Why not stay with the muxe? What do we need her for?

Despite those weaknesses, there is a magic to the film that lies almost entirely in the images it creates. And for those and the interesting culture it portrays, the film is very definitely worth it.

A muxe in an elaborate dress with a crown holding another only wearing a skirt who lies in her lap.

Summarizing: beautiful.

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