Amor in Barcelona: Our Review of ‘Girlfriends and Girlfriends’

Posted in Mubi, What's Streaming? by - June 28, 2023
Amor in Barcelona: Our Review of ‘Girlfriends and Girlfriends’

A lot of things happen in Zaida Carmona’s Girlfriends and Girlfriends, its several plot points serving as part of a ripple effect. Zaida (Carmona) experiences a bad breakup. The Barcelona-based interdisciplinary artist goes to her therapist, who tells her to ‘live with the pain, to go through it’. Zaida does have anotehr solution to her problem, which, depending on who you talk to, is either a good or a bad idea. She decides to get back into the lesbian dating scene.

Zaida still leaves voice mails on her ex Gabriela’s inbox while flirting with two women. The first is Lara (Alba Cross), a film director who’s already dating her best friend Rocio (Rocio Sanz). The second is Aora (Aora Elbira), a musician who is already dating Julia (Thais Quadreni). Some people might find this woman stealing repulsive, but Rocio and Julia are already cheating on their girlfriends with each other. The film, then, is about Zaida navigating this scene of friends.

Even if Girlfriends and Girlfriends only depicts these five characters, it makes those five characters seem like a good enough representation of artists, Barcelona, and the lesbian scene. One of the B-plots here is about these women running into each other. This happens while a Rohmer retrospective runs at a local rep theatre. A film with references with Rohmer references is as bold as a comparison which works. If anything, this is more accessible than Rohmer’s later work, especially when it comes to pacing.

There are, however, one or two things that may turn people off of Girlfriends. The infidelity is the first of these things, and the second is Carmona casting herself as a protagonist. As Zaida, Carmona is doing a tightrope walk when it comes to depicting not just a character with ambiguous morality but as someone awkward and cringeworthy. Her performance occassionally veers on the Dunham-esque. But thankfully, she knows how to pull back, which she does early in her film.

What saves Girlfriends is how it has both quirky characters and location with conventional story beats. I mean the latter as a compliment, by the way. As it has a few characters that bookend the film’s beginning and end. One of those is the therapist who tells Zaida that her polyamorous relationship with Gabriela isn’t as healthy as she thinks it is. It is strange strange that there’s moralistic preaching in the end. But I like a film where characters look out for each other.

Watch Girlfriends and Girlfriends on MUBI.

This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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