Film review: ‘Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?’ dir Anna Margarita Albelo

The day after her 40th birthday, a filmmaker who sacrificed her love life for her film career realises she has neither, and decides to get them both by adapting an all-female version of, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

With an award-winning performance from Guinevere Turner (The L Word, Go Fish, outstanding as Penelope and playing everything from supportive best friend to a drunk lesbian version of Elizabeth Taylor) and and award-wining script, great supporting cast turns from Janina Gavanka and Agnes Olech, as well as significant amount of the film in a handmade vagina costume, Albelo has created more than a universe for her character, it’s really a multi-verse.

Mixing genre (from fantasy to comedy) and even style such as film noir juxtaposed against documentary, Albelo offers us a sometimes surreal, sometimes meta, often funny, sometimes very dark (imagine peeling off Guinevere Turner’s face and sticking it over your own…) vision for a character who goes on a mid-life journey of self discovery after reaching rock bottom. With an honest look at herself, and help from the friends and family that surround her, she realises she can achieve her dream. This is Albelo’s first feature and she plays with as many of the possibilities that are open to her as can fit in one 80 minute film. And it works.

Writer, Director and lead Anna Margarita Albelo says
‘”Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?” based on my original, semi-autobiographical story is a film about honesty and unites many of the themes that concern me and my work for the past 20 years: the anti-hero’s quest, unrequited love, unconditional love, facing demons, and creating change through our own hands. By using my life and becoming the protagonist, I am giving a voice to a person who is a woman, a Latina, a lesbian, out there in the world trying to give meaning and importance to her life and desires.
Universal themes explored, with humor, by one person’s personal experiences, this is the base of my work both in documentary and fiction.

Inspired by the mid-life crisis films of two of my cinematographic heroes: Fellini’s “8 1/2” and Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories”, I unite the different story-telling techniques I’ve perfected over the years combining fantasy, documentary, comedy, and drama. “Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?” is a movie about a filmmaker telling you her story, illustrating her trials and tribulations and somehow understanding what it
all means at the end. It’s also about how humor, friendship, family and creativity can illuminate even the most dire of situations. How does one have love in their lives? They start with themselves!”

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