Antonella Sudasassi's The Awakening of the Ants is exclusively showing on MUBI in February 26 - and March 26, 2020 in most countries around the world as part of the series Direct from the Berlinale.
“Nothing could be more dangerous and delicate than an anthill.”
—Roberto Calasso, 1998
I come from a family of strong women. My paternal grandmother, head of the household, raised her seven children alone, my maternal grandmother with eleven children, my mother with five. All my memories of love revolve around situations or conversations with my mom, my sisters, my aunts, my grandmothers. I learned about love from them. They unknowingly taught me that love should be unconditional, indulgent, they taught me to place others first, to love in a "maternal" way.
We seldom relate machismo with love. And we rarely associate it with the more feminine side we think we have. Maternal love is often macho, and these patterns that we learn, we repeat them in the different spheres of our lives. Learning to love is a political act.
With Hormigas I wanted to reflect on those small actions that daily teach us woman to please, serve, attend, be married, be mothers, be for others; teachings and expectations that do not arise from bad intentions, but out of tradition.
I wanted to tell a story that portrays that idealized and macho motherly love that makes us unveil for others and leads us to forget about ourselves. Isabel is a simple woman. She has never questioned herself what she wants. Her femininity, sexuality and personal fulfillment have been defined through the expectations of others, which she, without reflection, assumed as her own. Life found her at her 30s, married with two daughters, with a husband from a large family who states very clearly what they expect from her. Isabel begins to doubt. And from that doubt arises a great and silent revolution.
We are currently living another wave of feminism, in a context of great mobilization, where women around the world shout in unison #NiUnaMenos and #MeToo. With Hormigas I seek to explore the unspoken violences, those that are silenced, those that are keep at home. Abuse and micromachismos are taught behind closed doors through small actions. We have the responsibility to break the silence, abandon our habits and re-educate our children through love. This is the real revolution.
To me, this movie represents the fears and insecurities of discovering yourself as a woman in a changing world, which at times gives you permissive glimpses, allowing you to believe you can decide, but constantly tempts you with tradition. We still are infinitely conservative. Isabel - just like me - understands that she has to stop to simply be and decide who she wants to be.
I would love for you to meet Isabel and join her in her journey of discovery and the rethinking of her identity, in her profound process of social resistance and beautiful transformation.
The story of Isabel of Hormigas is part of a transmedia project which seeks to explore sexuality in the vital stages of women. The project is interdisciplinary and collaborative and invited artists* from all over the world to create a collective mosaic of honest experiences about femininity and sexuality in order to demystify it and provoke a rupture with the violence inherent in traditional gender roles.
Learning about healthy sexuality, with women able to exercise the right to decide on their own bodies, and learning about the responsibility that we have for our own pleasure and satisfaction, is also a political act.
*Pieces by invited artists, Lía Vallejo y Gabriela Novoa
¿Qué hay más bello que la abundante cabellera de una mujer, que esa profusión de bucles? (...) Y sin embargo, esa cabellera es su belleza; más aún, su fuerza. Pues por ella, según dice el poeta, cautiva al hombre, lo encadena y lo ata a la tierra. Quisiera decirle a uno de esos tontos que predican la emancipación: mírala, aquí la tienes en toda su imperfección, más débil que el hombre; si tienes el coraje de hacerlo, corta esos bucles abundantes, rompe esas pesadas cadenas y déjala correr como una loca, como una criminal, para espanto de todos. (Ou bien... ou bien. Le journal du séducteur, París, Robert Laffont, 1993)
En la historia, la mitología y el arte en general se han utilizado las hormigas como símbolos de sexualidad, que desatan el caos o apoyan el orden. “Nada podría ser más peligroso y delicado que un hormiguero. Es el oído de la tierra, el lugar donde quedan las sobras de los sacrificios, el hogar de la serpiente, el umbral del mundo subterráneo.” Calasso, Roberto, 1998).
Los sueños, estados de ensoñación, o alucinaciones tanáticas de Isabel son vívidas y sumamente simbólicas. Están relacionadas con su pelo, la maternidad, la sexualidad o la muerte. Notamos que son alucinaciones hasta que dejan de serlo. Los naturaleza invasiva y los zumbidos parecieran ser parte de sus alucinaciones hasta que no lo son.