DULCINEA

2023
Video 4K - 90’ Color and sound

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Sinopsis

2023
Video 4K - 90’ Color and sound

“Dulcinea”, a still image film, gravitates around the life and political trajectory of Dulcinea Bellido: a feminist, communist and revolutionary woman who founded the first feminist mass organization during the Franco regime, therefore paving the way for the emergence of the feminist movement in late Francoism and the Spanish Transition to democracy.

Bellido’s biographical account, her vital and political experience, acts as a narrative thread to problematize and understand the emergence of feminist thought and its political mobilization in the framework of the struggle led by the Communist Party of Spain — PCE against Franco’s dictatorship. In such an immersive and engaged endeavour, Polo also tries to elucidate the impact and scope of feminist agency at the time, as well as the challenges and conflicts confronting feminists striving for political change and genuinely democratic transformations in the framework of their complex, and often tortuous, relationships with markedly androcentric leftist formations.

There hardly exist any images or archival material of these political experiences and barely any lines have been written about Dulcinea Bellido, despite her salient role as a member of the Central Committee of the Party. Bellido was the first woman in the electoral lists of the party during the first democratic elections, however, it may have been her feminist contestation to the workings of the party what has turned her into a figure obliterated in historical accounts. Moreover, Bellido is not duly regarded in feminist genealogies due to the animosity certain feminist sectors bore towards militancy within communist parties and their misapprehension of class-based demands of poor women.

The popular memory of the struggle against the dictatorship does not encompass the imaginary of feminist political action in this period, which is also not accounted for in dominant historical narratives. This project is also aimed at recreating and reclaiming such an imaginary and referents.

The visual dimension of this film is articulated in a series of scenes that the artist has photographically shot as she recreated them with actors and extras in historically contextualised sites. These scenes are based on memories of certain situations that were narrated to the artist in multiple interviews that she carried out, during a long-term research undertaking. The backbone of the film is a script written for two female voices that thrives alongside the images as a voice-over. Structured in fifteen scenes, one of the voices embodies Dulcinea. The other voice unfolds mirroring her site of enunciation as a sort of contemporary double of herself. Such an inter- locution is composed as a meta-reflective dialogue geared by a literary and poetic slant.