South America is becoming a bit of a hotbed for interesting LGBT cinema. Now Chile has added one more film to the roster with A Map For Love.
Roberta is a young woman with a child, who tells her mother, Ana, that she is now living with someone she knew in school, Javiera, in a lesbian relationship. The conservative Ana isn’t immediately full of acceptance, suggesting her daughter just needs to wait for a man who will love her the right way, and guilt-tripping Roberta over how it will affect her son.
Ana, Roberta and Javiera then decide to head out to sea on a sailing weekend to get to know one another better. The cramped environment soon sees tensions rise, with the women revealing secrets and trying get the others to see who they truly are.
Although sometimes a little heavy-handed (and the secrets aren’t that surprising), A Map For Love is generally a well-observed and interesting drama, focussing on three women at different stages in their journey in life. Initially it seems like it’s going to be a pretty standard film – parent can’t accept their child’s sexuality and needs to be taught the error of their ways. However it turns out to be a bit smarter than that, with ideas raised between all three women about the difference between who they are, who they want people to think they are and who others see them as.
For example Javiera has a side-job involving depictions of sexuality that differ from the stereotypes of straight pornography. She sees it as an artistic exploration, although you can feel that in Robert’s eyes its potential salaciousness as ‘porn’ is something she can challenge her mother with and demonstrate the differences between them. However that’s not really what Javiera wants to express and she would prefer it if her girlfriend didn’t think of it that way.
A Map For love is also a pretty smart look at a mother-daughter relationship, and not just the challenges of introducing a same-sex partner to your parents for the first time. It’s a movie with plenty of ideas, ranging from generational differences and the need for children to both hold to and rebel from the values of their parents, to the effects Chile’s difficult recent past has had on those who lived through it, especially as society has changed so radically since the end of Augusto Pinochet’s regime.
With a great score and decent acting, it’s a worthy addition to the new wave of lesbian cinema from around the world.
Overall Verdict: An interesting look at who we are and how we want to be seen, told through the eyes of three women trying to find their way through different ideas of the world and how love should be.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac