Tribeca presents 'Perfume de Gardenias,' a comedy about Puerto Rico's funeral culture
Perfume of Gardenias, a black comedy about Puerto Rico's funeral culture, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival over the weekend.
The Tribeca Film Festival premiered Perfume de Gardenias, by Gisela Ramos, artistically known as Macha Colón.
The director makes her feature film debut with a black comedy that portrays the funeral culture of her native Puerto Rico. Perfume de Gardenias, which premiered Sunday, June 13, at the Tribeca Film Festival, surprised audiences with a black comedy starring almost entirely women, inspired by Puerto Rico's amusing funeral culture, and, in the director's words, depicting invisible communities.
The cast is headed by Luz María Rondón, along with Sharon Riley, Katira María, Carmen Nydia Velázquez, Blanca Rovira, Milagros Ortiz, Abner Rivera, Flor Joglar — mother of rapper Residente — and painter Antonio Martorell.
Rondón is Isabel, a woman who is widowed after years of caring for her husband and with nothing to do in her spare time, begins to organize original funerals with a group of neighbors led by Toña (Riley), who also keep a secret that will force her to rethink her beliefs.
Macha Colón, Gisela Ramos stage name, expressed her admiration and said she learned a lot from the actresses who starred in her feature film.
The filmmaker reflected on the role of women in Puerto Rican families, their role as caregivers and the gender expectations placed on them.
"As I was growing up, I began to realize certain things: more and more my family expected me, as a woman, to take care of my parents, to spend more time with them. I looked around and saw the same thing with other women. I wanted to reflect this world, which is what I see around me: women tend to live longer and create these support networks, get involved in taking care of people."
Macha confessed to having been inspired by a family event involving her parents for the film's history. Colón says that her mother took care of her husband, who was ill and in very delicate health, and one day she asked her husband if she could look for a relief, since she was going to a funeral with her friends. This surprised the gentleman by making a funeral a social event.
The film was shot in early 2020, and had some setbacks during the process, such as a strong tremor during the first day of shooting and the state of emergency as a result of COVID-19. Despite this, the filmmaker managed to finish her debut project and premiered on Sunday at the popular film festival in New York City in front of a live audience.