Paco León gets lost on the yellow brick road in his Iberian and ‘queer’ Wizard of Oz

One of the most powerful ideas of RainbowPaco León’s film inspired by The Wizard of Oz, It is that of Dora, its protagonist, crossing a yellow field from La Mancha, so similar in its 360 degrees of horizon to that of the American Midwest, defying its generational loneliness like a multicolored Quixote. It is that Dora de la Mancha that drives an unbalanced but at the same time very fertile film, capable of the best and the worst. The famous yellow brick road imagined by a daring and audacious director among the windmills of his youth, which claims his place, multicultural and fluid, in the world.

Rainbow, Presented before its premiere on September 23 and then on Netflix at the Anoeta Velodrome sessions, the most popular at the San Sebastián festival, it is the story of a teenager who, always accompanied by her dog Totó, embarks on a road movies as initiatory as hallucinogenic. Dora, a character, and Dora Postigo, a singer and now an amazing actress, come together on a path of adventures in which the Iberian and the queer make up an imaginary world rich in sounds and visual ideas that, unfortunately, ends up leading to a crazy final party full of unnecessary winks fashion and cameos whose supposed catharsis is not up to what this ambitious film proposes. That final bungling would be unforgivable if it weren’t for the beautiful epilogue that closes the film.

Dora begins her flight on her birthday, in search of the mother she never knew and after a fight with her good father (Hovik Keuchkerian). Here the city of Oz is the Capital City, a place with echoes of the rampant neoliberalism that submits us. Gone is a plateau path of secondary roads in which the character of Dora crosses paths with three guys as damaged as her. The rapper from Granada Ajax Pedrosa he embodies a brainless person who is kept chained up in a roadside junkyard; the actor Luis Bermejo, who is wonderful, is a man in a tie who before committing suicide discovers, bartlebly stylewho would rather not, and Nigerian designer and musician Wekaforé Jibrily brings to life an African queer whose crazy eccentricity marginalizes him from his own. Four outsiders who in search of the meaning of life, or some meaning without more, discover the pleasures of physical and… chemical journeys. The witches, the good and the bad, will be the ones, at times sown, Carmen Machi (the good one) and Carmen Maura (the bad one).

The Wizard of Oz is one of the great fetishes in the history of cinema and art, an icon of popular culture which was born in the first year of the 20th century with the children’s book by L. Frank Baum, continued with the 1903 Broadway play and shot into eternity with the incomparable musical film signed by Victor Fleming in 1939, although his legacy is imaginary is also due to George Cukor, King Vidor, Richard Thorpe and, of course, its leading actress, judy garlandwho with his over the rainbow became the LGBTI flag.

The true success of the film did not come until the sixties, when a disenchanted generation discovered in it the reflection of a hallucinogenic trip whose metaphor distilled the disenchantment of a world that was facing the great farce of the so-called American dream. The Wizard of Oz It was always a deeply anarchic and political children’s film.

With his usual insight, the director of carmine or bust, Kiki, love is made either the Serie Madrid burnshas conceived Rainbow in a historical moment that lives uncertainties that can remember those that surrounded the 1939 film, shot when the threat of the Second World War loomed over the recovery from the Great Depression. This world today born of the financial crash of 2008also rushes into the unknown.

There have been other Oz, cartoons, or even the one from blaxploitation directed by Sidney Lumet in 1978 with Diana Ross as Dorothy and with a debutant Michael Jackson! in the role of scarecrow. Paco León, and that is a merit, has dared with a legend and has done it in his own way, with that driving ability that a runaway director possesses whose undeniable talent is in an irregular and largely unsuccessful film but with the courage wanting to look to the future.

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Paco León gets lost on the yellow brick road in his Iberian and ‘queer’ Wizard of Oz