“Unicornio” challenges homophobic attitudes

April 4, 2014

“Unicornio” is the name of the new movie directed by the Bolivian filmmaker Rodrigo Bellot. The 30-minute drama, supported by the Hivos regional office in South America, is inspired by a true story about a 25-year-old gay member of the Mennonite community in Bolivia, a Christian group based around the church communities of Anabaptist denominations.

The world premiere of “Unicornio” took place at the Miami Film Festival in March 2014, and on May it opened in Bolivia.

The film starts with a Bolivian Bold News report about Isaac (Douglas Porter), a distractingly handsome Mennonite who as a boy was held captive in a box by his parents for various transgressions. Isaac works on a farm, but he is not connected to his community. He plans to escape, and not just because he longs for an attractive young man (Eric Robles) he spots in town. Tender, poetic and mostly wordless —Isaac does not speak Spanish— Bellott sensitively tells this short story though Isaac’s expressions and experiences.

At the Hivos regional office in South America we have adopted cultural activism as a common language to seek social change. Cultural expressions and the arts lend themselves uniquely to the process of promoting and generating activism for social transformation. One example of our new course is the 2014 Calendar “The one I am”, a collection of 12 images of Bolivian women who have transformed their corporeality to reclaim the female body as the subject of their own desires and pleasures. The collaborative construction of “Micaela”, a documentary about abortion, and the incorporation of women’s gender and sexual rights into the production project ‘Tarapoto’, appeal to the emotions to generate reflection and action. All these projects demonstrate in practice that it is necessary and possible to build bridges between cultural activism, advocacy for human rights and green ventures.

Rodrigo Bellot (second from the left), at the premiere in La Paz, Bolivia.