Marta Balletbó-Coll (b. 1960) exemplifies independent guerrilla film-making. She is a one-woman writing, filming, producing, directing, and promoting army. Perpetually at the mercy of small budget constraints, Balletbó-Coll stars in her own films and gets them made on the proverbial shoestring –she famously filmed Sevigné (2004) in two weeks–, but despite (or because of) this, she has managed to produce three highly personal, inventive, and exciting films.
Her protagonists are always good people, trying to get by in a world that was not quite made for them. And one feels that the same may be true of Marta Balletbó-Coll’s unmercenary, honest movies. For this season, we have selecting her wonderful first film, Costa Brava (1995).
The genre of Drama has been the staple of lesbian films since the 1930s closed the door on bubbly gender- bending farce. Against the grain, Marta Balletbó-Coll’s hilarious tragi-comedies about contemporary clueless lesbianhood have been a wonder to behold, much like a small fleet of shinny spaceships.
The fact is that Balletbó-Coll comes to us like an alien ambassador, bringing her intergalactic message of peace: the proof of intelligent life is self-deprecating humor, she tells us. It works a charm, and she always gets the girl. In this sense, Marta Balletbó-Coll is the lesbian Woody Allen (the early, pre-Purple Rose of Cairo Allen), and Costa Brava is her Manhattan. This is a tale of flourishing margins, cultural erotics, and domestic misalignments, protagonised by a noble antihero, perpetually baffled, armed only with a Giggle-ray gun.
Marta Balletbó-Coll’s last film was produced in 2004. It has been far too long. From our little Dublin Film Qlub corner, we would like to humbly beg her to take up the camera again. Three films is not enough. We want more. Three, two, one, Fire!