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A look at colonialism in Puerto Rico through the film “La pecera”

The Puerto Rican filmmaker Glorimar Marrero explore in his film “The Fishbowl” the mourning and ravages of “US colonialism” in her country through the cancer of an artist.

“The film serves us a bit as an activist letter to talk about the issue of colonialism and to sow the seed for the search for additional information,” Marrero said in an interview with EFE. The film was part of the international fiction selection of the Sundance Festival that ends its face-to-face edition this Sunday in Park City, Utah.

“La pecera”, a Puerto Rican and Spanish co-productionbegins with the revelation that Noelia’s cancer, a plastic artist played by Isel Rodríguez, has metastasized and that, to everyone’s surprise, she will decide not to treat it anymore.

Although her protective boyfriend and his family will try to change her mind, the woman decides to return to Vieques (Puerto Rico), her place of origin to resume the fight with activists who seek to clean up toxic waste in the territory which was once a US military test base.

“For me it was important to work issues related to illness, self-determination and the colony”expressed the director who began writing her feature film after the death of her mother in 2013 due to the same disease that her main character lives.

This territorial invasion that Puerto Rico has suffered in its history is expressed as a metaphor in the film through the invasion of cancer that Noelia faces.

“The female body colonized with cancer helped me to talk about the disease in Vieques (Puerto Rico), that’s how I wanted to develop it,” said Marrero.

The filmmaker presents a physical journey undertaken by the protagonistbut also a sensory one, since the contact that Noelia has with fabrics, water, sand and even her own hair, immerses the viewer -without words- into an internal and painful world.

Film “La pecera”, written and directed by Glorimar Marrero (Supplied)

“She is a plastic artist. I imagine Noelia as a very bodily person, very sensory, with her senses very awake and precisely for this reason, her illness jerks her (shakes) her so much and makes her make the decisions that she makes, “Rodríguez replied.

The actress from “El cuartito” had to consult several women who had suffered complicated illnesses in order to understand a little how she should embody the pain experienced by her character.

“They gave me many descriptions of how this disease began, but also their private life, their intimate life. I asked them questions about whether they went out, if they drank, what sex was like in this situation so that I could understand and get at least a little (little) closer, ”she declared.


Another political position of Marrero in the film was the conscious choice to narrate a story starring and made by women.

“I knew that the central figures would be female, the tour would pass through a woman in her forties and her relationship with her motherbut the project also has community activists from Vieques, I wanted to show these leaders”, mentioned the filmmaker.

Likewise, the vast majority of the leadership positions in the different departments of the film’s production were occupied by women as a “work ethic issue to strengthen the female community of filmmakers,” explained Marrero.

The film, which was shot in just 20 days, is also part of the Göteborg Film Festival in Sweden and will be present at another “prestigious European festival” that they cannot confirm yet.

In addition, Marrero announced that he is currently working on a new film, also a Spanish co-production.

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