The screening of ‘Love, women and flowers’ at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, within the official Cannes Classics section, represents a high point in the outstanding film career of 89-year-old Colombian filmmaker Marta Rodríguez. Made in the 1980s in collaboration with her late husband, filmmaker and photographer Jorge Silva, this documentary has become a benchmark for New Latin American Cinema. Documentary filmmaker Gabriela Torres has shared with us the exciting story that has culminated in the screening, which took place on May 21 in the Buñuel room. Natalia and Juliana Vélez from the magazine Ojo Vulgar also participated in this program.
In 1987, her husband Jorge Silva died and Marta Rodríguez had to deal alone with finishing the documentary that the two of them had been working on since the mid-1980s. These are very difficult times for the Colombian filmmaker. But two years later, in 1989, the film finally aired thanks to the participation of the British television channel Channel Four in London, where the documentary filmmaker had traveled to do the editing.
On May 21, at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, almost four decades after the documentarian couple began to take an interest in the flower industry in the Bogotá savannah, their film ‘Love, women and flowers’ has been screened in the Cannes Classics section.
For Marta Rodríguez this represents almost a utopia and that is why she has been very excited, says América Gabriela Torres, head of communication and distribution at the Documentary Film Foundation, in Paris. This Franco-Colombian documentary filmmaker, resident in Bogotá, also underlines that the theme they deal with in the film is still valid.
The film is an exploration of flower growing in Colombia in the 1980s. Behind the idyllic image of abundance, the reality of that industry is very different. The documentary denounces the use of pesticides in the flower fields of the Bogotá savannah, as well as the working conditions of the predominantly female workforce. The film documents stories marked by domestic violence, labor exploitation and the resistance of a first union organization.
“You must have a lot of love to finish a film,” Marta Rodríguez is wont to say about the tests she had to overcome after the premature death of her husband at the age of 46. These words have marked Gabriela Torres: “They are a lesson for me as a filmmaker. Without a great love for what one does, one cannot make films like the ones the two of them made.”