I read a lot of contemporary literature, watch all the films I can, watch more TV series than I should, and read more newspapers than I would like. But in all of these genres I notice a common denominator: the victim as the hero of the contemporary story, whether in novels, films, or political parties. Different voices share the place from which they initiate their discourse: delivering shock to the audience or voters. Although I do not judge whether this trend produces better or worse work, the fact is that I began…
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I read a lot of contemporary literature, watch all the films I can, watch more TV series than I should, and read more newspapers than I would like. But in all of these genres I notice a common denominator: the victim as the hero of the contemporary story, whether in novels, films, or political parties. Different voices share the place from which they initiate their discourse: delivering shock to the audience or voters. Although I do not judge whether this trend produces better or worse work, the truth is that I began to miss new perspectives. Maybe that’s why I was so happy with Success 20 thousand species of bees, Estíbaliz Urresola’s debut feature film nominated for 15 Goya Awards: a story about the search for sexual identity told through intimacy, not trauma. A small revolution.
Because if I told you so 20 thousand species of bees Telling the story of an eight-year-old trans girl, What Can You Imagine? The girl’s childhood or the victim’s childhood? Identity discovery or shock identity? You’ll notice that you don’t need to watch the movie to answer. This is because we are accustomed to coloring the tragedy of everyday life to attract attention, legitimacy and even truth. Sometimes I read (or hear myself say) that a book or movie is good because it hits, hurts, disturbs, or denounces. Because it so happens that in a political context where beliefs and ideologies (and even intellectual authority) have lost their importance, legitimacy no longer rests with the social class or the revolution, but with the status of the victim.
but, 20 thousand species of bees It made me think that perhaps the most committed art, precisely, is that which dares to enter into the intimacy of problems from the delicacy of everyday life. Because to understand a conflict – whether intimate or political, where they differ – you have to understand what happens on a daily basis, in that space that is difficult to navigate and name. Hence the ability to move in a way that does not involve challenge, conflict, battle, victory, or even a hero. And so it turns out that in order to tell the story of Lucia (a trans girl played by the dazzling Sofía Otero), Estibáles Urísola enters into intimate relationships with her mother, her brother, her sister, her father, her grandmother, and her aunt. The city…and by the way, it reminds us that the heroes of the story are not only those who suffer from it, but also those who love them, their relatives, their friends, but also their past and the spaces they inhabit together.
We are all in life and we all have to learn. This teaching amounts to an existential proposition in this film that goes beyond the learning of the heroine girl and is binding on all of us. Perhaps this is why it is able to bring us together across differences. I think maybe that’s why it’s called this: 20 thousand species of beesBecause it names different ways of being the same thing. And I guess I hope this narrative will extend to other stories, especially political ones, that lack imagination and empathy. I hope, for example, that Netanyahu sees her and understands that her status as a victim does not give her the right to be the sole hero of her story. May we all feel that only if we look at ourselves differently will we be able to think differently. And what we need.
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