In past generations the vulva was not called a vulva. Not between families or friends, much less abroad, had other names, many, or did not have. The vulva and its mystery in itself. Growing up in that mystery, in that secrecy, generates unrecognizable and uncontrollable frustrations and traumas. This is what happens to Mila, the protagonist, from creature, interpreted as an adult by its director and screenwriter (in a script signed with Clara Roquet).
Mila moves into her family’s house in L’Empordà. A country house, near the sea, where she had forgotten all the summer experiences she had lived there. On her first night there, those memories of her break out in her body in the form of hives and uncontrollable desire and non-desire. She can’t fuck with her partner (Oriol Pla), even if I want and try. She needs time alone, with her friend from her adolescence, breathing north winds and salt water.
The movie then splits into flashbacks, in those memories of Mila. Mila, a teenager, being more aware of her sexuality, at a time, moreover, of the appearance of Messenger, of webcams, of that forbidden exhibitionism. At a time when it seems that we had more access to sexuality, but it was still just as forbidden. A teenager like Mila doesn’t have the tools, she doesn’t have the education to understand what happens to her body, what it does to her and what it does to others. “They call you a slut” a friend censures him. And she remains frozen, without answers.
The other flashback goes even further back. To Mila’s childhood, to that moment when the girl discovers herself the vulva (and how it throbs). In this family, they do call it the vulva, that progress has been made, but they avoid talking about it, they cut little Mila’s comments or actions to the chase, imitating the adults around her and being consistent with that incipient desire that she doesn’t understand. . Those affections to a father (Àlex Brendemühl) that he adores.
About those relationships of affection that the foreign eye (and sometimes one’s own) misinterprets, a tension is generated that gradually distances the father and daughter from rubbing against each other. In her maturity, Mila reproaches her for never having been affectionate. And he tenses. And, meanwhile, she is reunited with her mother (Clara Segura).
In this daring and, at times uncomfortable, exploration of female sexuality, its lack of explanation, of education, Elena Martin he continues to find questions that in the world we live in today remain unanswered.
Sex education is not only a pending issue, it even seems to be going backwards. In this sense, the film by the director of Júlia ist connects with another great Cannes film, presented in Un Certain Regard, How to have sex, by Molly Manning Walker. They are not at all similar in style, but both pose the same thing: that feeling lost in desire, in sexuality, towards oneself and towards the outside and even in environments where they seem privileged, understanding, empathetic. And, above all, they underline that even more complicated adventure of finding support, company and understanding in what happens to us.