As the LGBTQ and trans communities continue to make strides in representation we’re seeing directors take to telling these stories with an increased fervor. Just last month we looked at the documentary Rebels on Pointe looked at an all-male drag ballet company and now we have a trailer for Rubén Mendoza‘s feature, Señorita María, la falda de la montaña (Miss María, Skirting the Mountain).
Mendoza casts a spotlight on Maria Luisa Fuentes, a trans woman living in the mountains of a conservative town in Colombia. As María herself discusses how “god made all kinds, ugly and beautiful” the audience sees a shot of an ethereally painted landscape with pastel-tinged skies contrasted with the harsh dirt María digs in. She doesn’t enjoy wearing pants, she tells us, and it is this desire to be comfortable in her own skin that leads to the film’s central conflict. The two-minute trailer highlights María, first and foremost, but we’re also given glimpses of María singing with her mother, and the town rumors that María must be possessed by an “evil spirit” in order to act the way she is. There’s a quiet, meditative tone to the entire thing, punctuated by María’s plaintive prayer to “not be alone anymore.”
The documentary looks to examine conservative Colombian culture in the wake of new thoughts on gender and sexuality. María’s hope for a relationship could do a lot towards shaking up staid notions of trans relationships, particularly in Latin American communities. For Mendoza, this was a personal story to tell. Amanda Sarmiento, the documentary’s producer, detailed how Mendoza met Fuentes when the director was a young boy. He was always intrigued by her story and about six years ago he suggested to María that he make a film about her, and she accepted.