The Journey of Monalisa
Dir. Nicole Costa, Chile/USA, 2019, 93 mins
Q&A with director Nicole Costa and subject Iván Monalisa Ojeda to follow, moderated by Dominic Colon (New York Latino Film Festival)
Both intimate and gloriously poetic, THE JOURNEY OF MONALISA paints an aptly complex and empowering portrait of New York-based author and performer Iván Monalisa Ojeda (they/she). After 17 years, director Nicole Costa reconnects with her former classmate Iván Ojeda, who was known at the time as a talented theater director and playwright but has now reinvented themself as Monalisa. Intrigued by this transformation, Costa follows the gender-neutral two-spirit Iván Monalisa through the streets and clubs of New York, in her tough and vulnerable life filled with sexual encounters and addiction. All the while the ever-resilient Monalisa continues to write beautiful, raw pieces about life and survival in New York.
Recent scenes of Monalisa’s attempts to get a visa and their first successes as a writer are interspersed with old VHS footage, snippets of telephone conversations and extracts from her work. All this is framed by scenes of Monalisa proudly parading through the streets of New York—-a living artwork searching in the shadows for the light of self-expression.
Official Selection, DOC NYC
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