MARGARITA LEDO AND THE SCARS OF MEMORY
Margarita Ledo’s films recover voices and stories. Voices of the exiled, of revolutionaries, voices of migrant women. All of them closely connected with Galicia, but dispersed in a diaspora that left them scarred. A film-maker, poet and writer, exiled in Portugal in the final years of the Franco dictatorship, which persecuted her for her militancy in the Galician People’s Union, today Margarita Ledo is a member of the Galician Royal Academy and Professor of Audiovisual Communication in Santiago de Compostela. She is the author of a number of studies on both photography and film (for example, Del Cine-Ojo a Dogma 95: paseo por el amor y la muerte del cinematógrafo documental, 2004). Her film work is uniquely her own in the film industry for its unique shaping of the same issues, which get build upon with each film’s increasingly formal complexity.
Her first full-length film, Santa Liberdade (2004), recovered the memory of the widely publicised hijacking of the transatlantic cruise liner “Santa María” in January 1961, organised by twenty-four Galician and Portuguese antifascist activists with the intention of denouncing the dictatorships of Franco and Salazar. The operation ended up involving Kennedy, Time Magazine and the President of Brazil. In Liste, pronunciado Líster (2007), the filmmaker tried her hand at an anti-classical biography format about this communist leader of Galcia, which featured fragmented chronology and ramifications of stories interspersed with theatrical set pieces showing anti-naturalistic scenes, in what Ledo called “a palimpsest with all the possible Lísters”. A cicatriz branca (2012), her most recent project, is a fiction story constructed on a documentary base (presented as a documentary “note” in Apuntamentos para un filme, (2012), exploring the figure of the Galician woman exiled in Argentina. Ledo starts out from the idea that “the first characteristic of the emigrant is the forfeiting of their voice” and aligns herself with Laura Mulvey’s work on the creation of an alternative female canon that puts an end to the language of cause and effect and the function of woman as object. In the film, Ledo puts forward a “fragmented awareness of the feminine” where silence has a specific weight. Her films are about memory, about the anti-establishment, about the relationship with one’s own land and language to recover the complexity of silenced stories.