Following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion, the CUERPOS LIBRES series at the Roxie Theater gives the Latinx perspective on reproductive rights and the dangers of living in a post-Roe world through the screening of two vital documentary feature films: ON THE DIVIDE (2021, USA) by Maya Cueva and Leah Galant, and the Bay Area Premiere of FLY SO FAR (2021, El Salvador) by Celina Escher.
ON THE DIVIDE follows the story of three Latinx people living in McAllen, Texas who, despite their views, are connected by the most unexpected of places: the last abortion clinic on the U.S./Mexico border. As threats to the clinic and their personal safety mount, these three are forced to make decisions they never could have imagined. A live in-person Q&A with local filmmaker Maya Cueva will follow the screening, hosted by Isa Nakazawa.
FLY SO FAR tells the story of Teodora Vásquez, a woman sentenced to 30 years in prison for aggravated homicide in El Salvador after having a stillbirth. She is the spokesperson for The Seventeen, a group whose testimonies and cases are evidence of the State’s violence against women, but also of collective resilience, solidarity and sisterhood. The screening will feature a pre-recorded introduction from director Celina Escher.
Saturday, August 13 at 4pm
Local director Maya Cueva in-person for Q&A after the screening, hosted by Isa Nakazawa
McAllen, Texas is home to Whole Woman’s Health — the last abortion clinic in the US/Mexico border. Mercedes, a tattooed Latina woman in her thirties who used to be involved in gangs, is now part of the pro-life Church movement, embracing the support from the Christian pregnancy center located next door to the clinic. Denisse, a young mother of four, volunteers at Whole Woman’s Health of McAllen and helps guide women into the clinic, providing much-needed comfort and assistance. Protecting the entryway into the clinic is Rey, a Latino security guard in his late sixties who is fervent in his religious beliefs, but also deeply understands the plight of the women who arrive at the abortion clinic.
Their life decisions intertwine at this abortion clinic, as they grapple with how their devotion informs their role in fighting for or against abortion rights. Filmed over seven years, the documentary chronicles this community during the political climate of the Trump administration, the storytelling bolstered by an empathetic lens and an authentic concern for spotlighting reproductive rights as a fraught national issue. Throughout On the Divide, filmmakers Maya Cueva and Leah Galant expertly bring the audience into the rising tensions—and humanity—at the center of this contentious issue.
Directed by Maya Cueva and Leah Galant. Produced by Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Amanda Spain and Elizabeth Woodward. Origins: USA. in English & Spanish with English subtitles. 2021. DCP. 79 minutes.
Sunday, August 14 at 3:10pm
Bay Area Premiere
Pre-recorded introduction from director Celina Escher
Imagine that you are pregnant. You are in your ninth month. You feel an intense pain. You faint. When you wake up you are at the hospital, surrounded by police officers. They accuse you of having killed your own baby. This is the story of Teodora Vásquez, the spokesperson of The Seventeen, the women accused of aggravated homicide in El Salvador because of having a miscarriage or a stillbirth.
Fly So Far follows Teodora and The Seventeen in their struggle to regain their freedom. Due to the criminalization of abortion, they have been sentenced up to 30 years in prison for having an obstetric emergency. Their testimonies and cases are evidence of the State’s violence against women, but also of collective resilience, solidarity and sisterhood.
Directed by Celina Escher. Produced by Mónica Hernández Rejón. Featuring Teodora Vásquez & The 17+. Sweden & El Salvador. in Spanish with English subtitles. 2021. DCP. 89 minutes.
NOTE FILMS START RIGHT AT THE LISTED SHOWTIME.
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