MISS MARIA: SKIRTING THE MOUNTAIN
Colombia / 2017 / Spanish with English subtitles / 90
Amanda Sarmiento, Rubén Mendoza
María Luisa Fuentes Burgos
In the mountain village of Boavita, inhabited by conservative Catholic farmers, lives Miss Maria Luisa. She is 44 years old and though she was born male, she dresses and identifies as a woman. Solitary and rejected from a young age, Maria Luisa has found unshakeable strength in herself and in the small gestures of solidarity she receives. Her faith in the Virgin Mary and love of animals also act as pillars of support for this inspiring character that lives in a world set on mistreating her. Without straying from the conventions of documentary film, director Rubén Mendoza maintains an appropriate distance—not without compassion but never invasive—as he paints a disturbing yet intensely human portrait that forces us to bear witness to wickedness and beauty, nature and culture, undeniable uniqueness and the power of the masses. In a back and forth between convention (maintained structurally) and transgression (manifested in the characters and their world), Miss Maria: The Skirt of the Mountain exhibits tremendous esthetic and moral strength.