la puta y la ballena

The Whore and the Whale, 2004 Spain/ Argentina.

Continuing the series of Argentine films showing at the South American Explorers Club, yesterday we watched this film spanning several generations from 1930s Patagonia, to the Spanish Civil War and modern day Spain and Argentina.

The key protagonists, Lola, a showgirl abandoned by her lover in a Patagonian brothel and tango theatre, and Vera, a writer investigating photographs of Lola, both struggle to gain control of their life and particularly their body. Although unsure about the sincerity of the film's feminist credentials, the women's longing for freedom was clear, particularly in their identification with the whale caught in the shallows. "Only you can wriggle out of this," they tell themselves and the whale.