PREMIERE: "Hightown", the new feminist noir with a queer Latina protagonist
Monica Raymund plays an agent with an addiction problem in Hightown, which premieres on Sunday and promises to give a twist to the alpha-macho thrillers.
Jackie Quiñones (Monica Raymund) lives between two worlds, a bar and the docks of Provincetown, a fishing and tourist town famous for two things: being the mecca of the LGBTQ community and center of the opioid epidemic. But the discovery of a woman's body on the beach will force her to look into an abyss that returns her gaze.
The body discovery sets the scene for the beginning of Hightown, one of the series of the season that is as exciting as it is transgressive, and follows a protagonist that is a lesbian and Latina agent who works for the National Marine Fisheries Service. She fights both her own demons - her alcoholism - and the tidal wave of heteropatriarchal machismo from her colleagues. The character's experience is something the actress who embodies her, Monica Raymund (Chicago Fire), finds in herself.
"Women have balls too," Raymund told Efe. The Hispanic, who is also bisexual, claims to have had all the cards to be "marginalized" by a cinema industry that is still too white, masculine and heterosexual. But she had an asset: the Hightown team is a top-level feminist lobby.
Behind the cameras are two heavyweights: Rebecca Perry Cutter, the series' creator, and Rachel Morrison, who was the first woman to win an Oscar nomination for best cinematography for Mundbound (2017) and who directs several episodes.
"This series is not about the color of my skin or how I identify sexually, it's just starting to accept these characteristics as part of a whole."
"There was a moment when there were five women on the monitors preparing a scene with me as the main character," the actress recalled. "And I looked around and was like, 'Wow, I didn't think I was going to live long enough to see this."
For Monica Raymund, this is a historic moment for being a woman and working in movies, since many women have the same feeling, she said, of belonging to a "club".
"There is something like an unspoken spiritual connection between women... Spiritual is the word that comes to mind, maybe it sounds silly...," she added.
Against the dramatic backdrop of the Cape Town marshlands, Provincetown is not only a bucolic, seafaring resort town that must deal with the opioid epidemic affecting the United States and the violence of drug trafficking. It is also a place of meeting and celebration: the "heart of pride," said the actor.
"It's a city full of queer people. Their community is super diverse and eclectic, and my community (LGBTQ) is very accepted there. But what's also fascinating about that part of the Northeast U.S. is that, when the tourists are gone, it can be a very dark place," said Raymund, for whom Hightown, like good noir, poses a harsh criticism of the endemic evils of American society.
But without sexual orientation or race being the central motive, merely the character's traits.
"This series focuses on the criminal part and on Jackie's struggle to stay sober. It doesn't focus on the color of my skin, it doesn't necessarily focus on how I identify sexually: it's simply beginning to accept these characteristics as part of a whole. That's a huge improvement," she concluded.