When Iván Monalisa Ojeda got to New York Metropolis, Monalisa was born. A normal poet, 53-year-old Ojeda describes the experience of becoming two-spirit, or gender non-conforming, as one thing that could only transpire the moment he’d been freed from the homophobia of Chile in the 1990s.
“Monalisa was born right here,” Ojeda suggests in Spanish after filling out an consumption kind at City Justice Middle in Manhattan, which will assistance him with sources and trying to get citizenship. “That’s why at times I say that she has the ideal to stay in this article. Ivan can go, but Monalisa can’t. She’s from [New York].”
“The Journey of Monalisa” is Chilean filmmaker Nicole Costa’s aspect documentary about Ojeda, who goes by “he” but from time to time by “she” when she feels far more like Monalisa. The Chicago Latino Film Pageant is presenting its Midwest premiere in digital screenings by Sunday.
As friends who fulfilled at the University of Santiago in Chile, Costa and Ojeda went at the very least 17 years devoid of looking at just one yet another. The documentary started out filming in 2012, when they reunited and reconnected as mates and began talking about projects they could get the job done on collectively.
“I was 17 when we met,” Costa explained in Spanish. “In that time he was Ivan and he discovered as a homosexual gentleman … people today didn’t definitely speak about their sexuality again then.”
More than the following six years, Costa followed Ojeda’s journey of becoming Monalisa, who tends to make a dwelling by performing sexual intercourse operate. She finds her fellow queens in New York, and alongside one another they take part in beauty pageants, lip-syncing Myriam Hernández’s “El hombre que yo amo” (“The Male That I Love”) and uplifting each individual other.
Monalisa also bargains with an habit to crystal meth, anything that Costa claims her mate deliberately needed to consist of in the documentary. With the assistance of the Urban Justice Center, Ojeda alterations his title to Iván Monalisa Ojeda, along with switching the gender identity on his ID to woman. “I want it could say other … or equally,” Ojeda tells Costa, who recorded the total documentary by herself, give or just take a number of items from previous VHS tapes.
Costa re-created a scene that Ojeda done many years in the past in Chile as a college student. In Chile, coming out of the closet is referred to as “letting your braids go free,” so he walked the streets of Chile with a extended braid produced by fellow drama students. Ojeda, now centered in Brooklyn, wears a very long braid and walks the streets of New York in “The Journey of Monalisa.”
Due to the fact the previous scene of the film, which was filmed in 2018, Ojeda has been waiting around to get residency in the United States. Obtaining a eco-friendly card will enable for travel between the United States and Chile, the place Ojeda hasn’t been again to stop by in more than 20 a long time. In the meantime, Ojeda has stayed occupied by working on his crafting, pursuing the launch of his second e-book “Las Biuty Queens” as a result of Astra Residence Publishing.
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