Anchored by a message of body positivity and steadfast about debunking moralist prejudices surrounding female sexuality, the Bolivian independent comedy Las Malcogidas, which loosely translates to “the badly fucked women,” is a progressive trailblazer in the South American country, dealing head-on with subjects that some still consider taboo.
Multifaceted storyteller Denisse Arancibia Flores not only wrote and directed the movie, her debut, but also stars in the lead role of Carmen, a 35-year-old woman who’s endlessly criticized for being overweight. Every woman in her family is named Carmen and none of them have ever experienced an orgasm, thus her grandma explains she is destined to suffer from the family curse and never be sexually fulfilled.
Nonetheless, our heroine will defy the odds and take a shot at getting her neighbor Alvaro’s attention – her crush who is the lead singer in a local rock band. Boosting the plot’s already inclusive attitude, a storyline involving Carmen’s brother Honorio and his self-discovery as a transgender woman that chooses to retain her facial hair.
Based on the film’s official trailer, the project’s limited production budget is conspicuous. It’s lighting, set decoration, and shot choices are more in line with what is expected from a web series and not a theatrically distributed effort. Having said that, the humor shines through as its most valuable distinction and its function as an antidote to body-shaming culture is extremely relevant.
Following its world premiere at Argentina’s Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente (BAFICI) last year, Las Malcogidas was released commercially in Bolivia in September of 2017 to great reviews and large audiences.
The success has been such that, in May, Arancibia debuted a musical stage version based on the same characters and titled El Club de las Malcogidas. For this theater reimagining the filmmaker replaced herself in the lead role with actress Pamela Sotelo and added new dialogue to present attendees with improved content.
Las Malcogidas most recently screened in the United States as part of the official selection at the Chicago Latino Film Festival.