Is it possible
to travel the world without ever leaving Madrid's Lavapiés district? No, but
almost. That, at least, is what Helena Taberna discovered while gathering
information for her project La Flor de la Canela, a feature film principally
set against the backdrop of a neighbourhood, so typical of Madrid, legendary
in the collective memory, yet multiracial and dynamic in the here and now
of the third millennium.
A discovery serving as the basis and spirit of Extranjeras (Foreign Women), a documentary feature film making us look through the eyes of those who have left their countries of birth to land in the centre of a distant, unknown metropolis, in the hope of improving their living conditions. A point of view with an added feature: all of the testimonies, as revealed by the title, are given by women.
Asian, Latin American, African, European.... immigrant women who talk to the camera about their everyday lives far from their origins. Lives concealing frontiers, having left absolutely everything behind, the strength needed to immigrate to another country, what they have gained and mostly lost on the way. Lives which, at the end of the day, make Extranjeras a global portrait of one of today's most recurring sociological phenomena: immigration.
But this documentary makes no attempt to dissect immigration, to rattle off statistics. What Extranjeras objectively endeavours to portray, but with complicity and solidarity, is one of the aspects of a reality as obstinate as it is multifaceted. But with neither victimization nor prejudice, hence permitting us to appraise the wealth contributed by these women to a factor as necessary as it is undervalued in these grey times: co-existence.