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"Perfume de Gardenias", una producción colombiana-puertorriqueña, relata la historia de madres boricuas que se enfrentan a la enfermedad, desgracia y dolor al cuidado de sus familias. Foto: YouTube.
"Perfume de Gardenias", una producción colombiana-puertorriqueña, relata la historia de madres boricuas que se enfrentan a la enfermedad, desgracia y dolor al cuidado de sus familias. Foto: YouTube.

A Puerto Rican film inspired by death

The feature film "Perfume de Gardenias", which narrates the relationship of Puerto Rican mothers with death, is presented in Madrid this month.

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This black comedy tells the story of Isabel, a woman who prepares a special funeral after her husband’s death. After her loss and encouraged by her neighbor Toña, the protagonist begins to organize funerals for other inhabitants of her town. This will allow her to help more people and also, incidentally, cope with the pain and loneliness of her widowhood.

Isabel cannot afford buying original elements to organize funerals so she has to be creative and that is why she uses sawdust to make the wooden box shine. This unconventional style is not appreciated by most of the people in town; although it does have Toña's approval.

“With each funeral, her creativity grows inspired by the details of the life of the deceased, and she becomes the funeral decorator of the community, until she is confronted with Toña's imminent death. Isabel returns to her role as caregiver caring for a neighbor with a terminal illness, until she understands that sometimes something has to die for something else to flourish”, according to the synopsis of “Perfume de Gardenias”, a Colombian and Puerto Rican production. 

The film, which seeks to pay tribute to all Puerto Rican mothers who care for their families, is directed by Gisela Rosario Ramos, also known as Macha Colón. The director, who also performs rock and pop music with her band “Macha Colón y Los Okapi”, premiered “Perfume de Gardenias” in 2021 at the Tribeca International Film Festival in New York.

“As women, we grow up assuming that it is our duty to take care of our loved ones. Women are always expected to be caregivers. "Perfume de Gardenias" pays tribute to those women who care about others without any recognition. Women who sometimes are not even physically capable of doing so, but nevertheless take care of the sick and stay close to them in this important stage of their lives. Today, our obsession with being forever young makes us fear death, forgetting that death really is an inherent part of life. Preparing for our death should be part of our upbringing. I would love to inspire people to do it”, said Colón about her film, which was recently exhibited at the Lat Cinema Fest, the Latin American film festival of Catalonia, and will also be presented this week at the Casa de América in Madrid, Spain. .

The cast of "Perfume de Gardenias" is made up of Luz María Rondón, Sharon Riley, Katira María, Carmen Nydia Velázquez, Carmen Milagros Ortiz, Flor Joglar, and Abner Rivera.

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