A few years ago, I directed and produced the film documentary Rebirths: The Journey of the Soul, about four LGBT immigrants in France. It was a very difficult production process, I developed my conception of what it means to be a foreigner and a member of a sexual minority. Through this project, I became acquainted with an often invisible reality: the world of sex trafficking of Latin trans women. Hence the birth of Pucallpa and its protagonist, Elsa.
The project thus navigates two major themes: (1) the difficulties encountered by trans women of color, but also, (2) immigration more broadly in the western metropolises, a subject which runs throughout my cinematographic work. This latter theme is also an integral part of my life.
During the writing process, I had the opportunity to go to South Korea for an artist’s residency. It was my first time in this country, I was amazed by this high tech country, a highly developed, post-industrial society that remains largely traditional when it comes to feminine sexuality.
The duality between South Korean progress and conservatism directly influenced the writing of the script and has taken form in the second female character: Yena. As a young woman from Korean high society, her future should be bright, but everything goes wrong when she meets Aymeric, a handsome, white Frenchman, and a sort of Neo-conquistador.
Their relationship is unacceptable to Yena’s family. To maintain her freedom, Yena leaves her country, become yet another immigrant in France.
When Yena meets Elsa in Paris, they serve as foils to the male characters, Aymeric, a Frenchman and Sergio, a Latino pimp. They are linked by their love for Elsa, a mysterious woman. This dynamic affects all four characters at different levels. For example, Yena struggles with the nascent, secret sexual desires of her French husband, who is neither gay nor fully “straight” in the classical sense of the term. In this way, the story presents us with new forms of sexuality.
Finally, it is important to emphasize that the story moves across three different spaces: Pucallpa, Paris and Seoul. These places represent the trajectory of the two women in a world that, despite globalization, remains limiting.