Las coronelas

Media Type: Film

Year: 1953

Who wrote / made it : Rafael Baledon

Plot summary: Cross-dressing is a source of absurd fun in Las Coronelas (Rafael Baledon, 1959). The film tells the story of twin daughters whose father’s life is saved through them being promised as soldiers to the ridiculous General Nicolas Rosas (Andrés Soler) for the great cause of the Revolution. When the promise is made the father, Silberio, doesn’t know that the children are female nor that his wife is expecting twins. When they are born, aware of the capricious cruelty of the General, Silberio decides to keep up the lie. The only other people in the village who know the truth are the midwife and the priest. The General leaves for many years and returns when the girls are in their late teens and expressing their desire to be ‘normal’ girls, get married and have children. With Rosas’ return they must assume their male identities to match the male names they were given, Saturnino (Emma Roldán) and Nicolas (Martha Roth Pizzo).  They fall in love with some of their fellow soldiers and much of the humour is gleaned from the return of this attraction and the males’ inability to reconcile this with their macho selves.  The Revolution can be read as a superficial backdrop to a lightweight narrative.  However, the playing out of the tensions between the sexes and showing up macho performance as just that, makes for a more complex film than is apparent at first.

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