Showing as part of the Virgin Media Dublin Film Festival, Libre is a visually beautiful and artistically powerful depiction of people from the LGBTQ+ community reflecting on the struggles and personal triumphs within their own skin.
Producer Adriana Ribiero describes, “These four people deliver an emotional statement about body perception that goes beyond the queer community. It’s easy to sympathise with them as their perception of their own body reminds us that we’re beautiful human beings and we should respect ourselves above all.”
The featured members of the community may all represent different identities, but they all have something in common - past problems with accepting themselves and undertaking journeys to make peace with who they are now. Ribiero pointed out how the film gives a platform to an important discussion that reminds us, as queer people, we should rethink ourselves as political bodies rather than simple stereotypes.
Director Arthur Lopes gives further insight on both the inspiration behind Libre and what the creators want audiences to take away from the viewing: “The message of this documentary is to bring to the screen the issues and struggles some people go through when they are growing up, and especially how those issues and experiences shape someone’s personality for the rest of their lives. But it’s not about victimising them or putting them into this kind of ‘tragedy’ storyline (as sometimes the queer community is portrayed), but celebrating them and creating a sense of community where everyone is celebrated for who they love, who they are, and how they look. Queer individuals do carry certain things within their own skin, however, this does not stop them in finding their happiness, their balance, among all those standards.
“Since the beginning, the main idea, the heart of the documentary, was never to shock people with nudity or put the contributors in this place where they see themselves as victims of the past. The main idea was always to bring body issues to the front, and share these issues in a really delicate and artistic way.”
Lopes continues, “When we talk about bodies, most of the time we automatically think about beauty. But at the same time, while I believe there is a standard of beauty that has been impregnated in our mind for decades, I also believe that there is no universal standard of beauty. For example, my friend’s body can be glorified in the West of the world and simultaneously a cause for violence in the East.”
Lopes also describes that these feelings aren’t just limited to LGBTQ+ folk and that hopefully a good outcome of this universal struggle with self can be a universal acceptance: “I have no doubt as well that besides the queer community, there are lot of people who do not identify themselves as queer who are up to this challenge of self-acceptance and self-embracement.”
It sounds like a challenge well worth taking on.
‘Libre’ is showing as part of the Shorts Programme in the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival. Catch it on Thursday February 24 in the Odeon Point Square.