The documentary Our Bodies are your Battlefields, screened by Cinema Politica, shows the lives of trans women in Argentina fighting for their rights and to be accepted
Image from the official trailer for “Our Bodies are Your Battlefields”
Cinema Politica screened the premiere of the documentary Our Bodies are your Battlefields on Monday, March 6 in the atrium of the Hall Building. Cinema Politica is a media arts non-profit which screens a selection of independent political films. The local at Concordia, active since 2004, is Cinema Politica’s longest running film showcase, attracting hundreds of people to their weekly screening throughout the semester.
The film, written and directed by Isabelle Solas, shows the lives of trans activists Claudia and Violeta, as well as those of their compatriots, in their daily political struggle for acceptance in Argentina. Despite the reality of discrimination they face from upholders of the patriarchal society and trans-exclusionary feminists, among others, they manage to fight for political progress and form community with each other.
The films’ intimate portrayal of these women in both their activism and relationship to one another rings authentic. The different relationships these women have with their friends, families and each other demonstrates a vast diversity of trans experiences — something that is rarely shown and so often ignored. Claudia is close with her mother who supports her and her cause, whereas many other trans people were shunned or kicked out of their homes. They had to turn to sex work for survival, and have strived together for support and political activism in the community.
The screening was followed by a Q&A with two speakers, Anaïs Zeledon Montenegro and Elle Barbara, from the Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transexuel(le)s du Québec (ASTT(e)Q), a project under CACTUS Montréal. ASSTT(e)Q is run by and for trans people, to help trans people in need of healthcare and social services. The program’s core funding is being cut in April and they are collecting donations.
Barbara shared how she related to the protagonists of the film since, prior to working at ASTT(e)Q, they were heavily involved in the grassroots project Taking What We Need which organized parties and fundraisers to give money to low-income trans feminine people in Montreal. This allowed Barbara to politicize transness.
“That’s what transness was like to me, it is intrinsically political. And in that regard, I find the experiences depicted in the documentary are similar.”
Montenegro, who also has experience being on the streets, shared the importance of greeting people with love at ASTT(e)Q.
“We’re trying to do our best at ASTT(e)Q to make people think that there’s hope. That’s what we talk about: hope.”
The Cinema Politica film screenings are always free with the possibility to contribute donations at the venue. Their funding also comes from the Canada Council for the Arts and membership fees.
Upcoming Cinema Politica screenings can be found on their website.