Ruth Caudeli’s Leading Ladies is probably the third to last Inside Out film I’ll do this year. That’s unless I feel like doing any more. Anyway, before I talk about this, I just want to mention Caudeli’s previous work Second Star To The Right, which has the iconic line “DONDE ESTA LOS BISEXUALES” that Silvia Varon’s character yells at a café in response to her friend’s biphobia. It also has a great song in it. This new film has a song and Varon. But she shares the screen with fellow Second star Diana Wiswell and three more queer Colombian characters.
The film has its actresses playing characters with the same first names as they do. Silvia and Ana (Ana Maria Otalora) host a dinner party to welcome back their friends who have gone on to different paths in the past few months. Diana is a city councilor now who distracts herself from the party by checking her laptop and phone once in a while, and her other ladies rag on her for it. The most prodigal friend, though, is Marce (Marcela Robredo). Most of the friends think she’s back from Europe, but her occasional tears say that she’s not.
Pardon another digression, but a good thing about most virtual festivals is that the viewers can pick their lineup. Leading Ladies has been getting a mixed reception so far, but the praises have been glowing. The review join those praises. Caudeli uses a counterintuitive approach in telling a story about how guilt, lust, and truth affect otherwise seemingly lasting friendships. The more secrets these characters reveal, the darker the film gets aesthetically, which makes sense in reflecting darkness within truth. There’s also an intimacy to her approach to improvise, capturing the raw emotion that her characters feel at the moment.