By T. Watts
Lissette Feliciano’s debut feature film “Women Is Losers” shares the title with an obscure Janis Joplin song that evokes visions of sexist oppression. Feliciano comes from San Francisco, where the film is set in the late 1960s, when many of us awakened our politically opiate consciousness.
The 16-year-old protagonist Celina Guerrera (Lorenza Izzo) has a hard time at home. Your father is a controlling misogynist who gives courage through beer. When Celina asks to attend a welcome party for her boyfriend, father (Steven Bauer) doesn’t accuse his daughter of throwing a whore around, which means she’s taking care of her mother. It’s a typical paternal chatter in the Guerrera house. The following argument causes Celina to flee to her room. She puts on a dress, ducks out of the bedroom window, and still sneaks to the party.
There she meets up with her BF Marty (Chrissie Fit) and they both have romantic interludes with their friends. Both become pregnant and agree to have an abortion after finding the soul. They go together to the “abortion clinic” in the back room of a dental practice. Marty goes in first and the results are disastrous. When she wakes up in the hospital, Celina is there. They briefly discuss their teenage boy in adult dreams, but Marty dies and coughs convulsively. A tender tear caresses Marty’s cheek as Celina kisses her forehead in goodbye. The camera captures the arch of tears beautifully as Marty dies.
The story navigates through all the obstacles that teenage mother Celina now faces: getting stuck in an entry-level job, a dysfunctional domestic situation until she moves out, a mentoring boss who helps her even if he hits her until she does Mateo marries (Bryan Craig), the father of their child. With a drunk father and a drunk husband, things look bad for Celina, especially if she’s fired from her job.
Feliciano describes herself as a creator with multiple hyphens.
“It really is, she says. I write, I manage, I produce and I act. It’s about being able to create stories. The way this story came about was through a conversation with my mother. I spoke to her about the struggles I had in the industry, ”she says.
“My mother raised me all my life. She didn’t complain, she worked very hard, kept her head down and didn’t cry. I learned that from her. She never told me why you had to be better I did all of this. I did well in school. I did the internships, worked all the jobs. I did the damn thing. “
Feliciano adds: “It was a very humble moment when, shortly after my career, I had to come home and say to her, ‘I know you told me to do all these things and I do them, but that is it doesn’t work. ‘ I expected her to tell me to buck up, move on, not cry – all the things she usually told me. But she didn’t. At that point, she opened up to me and told me what she endured as an immigrant who became an entrepreneurial woman of color in the 60s and 70s. It was heartbreaking and informative, but also crazy because everything she told me more or less happened to me 60 years later. My mother said to me, “So what are you going to do now? Will you sit here and cry Or will you keep moving? ‘
“I got angry, frustrated, and sad, which helped me write the film. That’s why I decided to have the film break through the fourth wall as well, I think. The fourth dimension has the conversation with the audience that my mother had with me. Although these characters were walking around in the 60s and 70s, they might as well be walking around in 2021. If they turn around, face the camera and address the audience, they really are 2021 people. It is the connective tissue between my mother’s generation and my generation. “
The film “Women Is Losers” by the writer and director Lissette Feliciano was inspired by her own life. (Courtesy of the moon images)
The soundtrack to Feliciano’s film features expert manipulation of the scene throughout. Donna Summer, Joplin, Tito Puente and Snow Patrol are all there. The leading actress Izzo as Celina kills it especially in the aforementioned “Sneak to the Party” scene. It’s choreographed as the character brings up all of the teenagers’ fear of angrily tossing clothes around the room while seething for her party dress while Sugar Pie DeSanto tosses out the song “Witch For A Night”.
“Women Is Losers” is an important film that repeats and recaptures the premise that women of skin color are still fighting for the promise of democracy. We are all struck by the failures and successes of this promise.
IF YOU LOOK
Women are losers
With: Lorenza Izzo, Chrissie Fit, Bryan Craig and Steven Bauer
Written and directed by: Lissette Feliciano
running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes
Note: The film will be shown at festivals in Maryland, Milwaukee and Minneapolis in the near future and is available online.
Movies and television
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