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Sunday, 13 April 2014 22:34

'Free to Love' skillfully chronicles Puerto Rico's failed CR99 + Video

'Free to Love' skillfully chronicles Puerto Rico's failed CR99 webster.edu
Written by Diane Carson
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Rights for the LGBT community rank among the most important contemporary issues, and civil union/gay marriage status figures prominently. In 2008 Puerto Rico became a microcosm of the legislative and religious debate with Concurrent Resolution 99, rushed through the Senate, essentially elevating marriage only between a man and a woman to a constitutional level.

Writer/director Jorge Oliver's documentary "Free to Love" chronicles activists' reaction to CR99, including unprecedented mobilization on the opponents' part. Soon conservative and liberal Representatives and Senators squared off in behind-the-scenes strategy sessions. Pentecostals and other religious fundamentalists also entered the fray thrusting the separation of church vs. state into the mix as churches campaigned for CR99, effectively acting as political action groups.

Director/producer Oliver distills a complicated legislative process of public hearings, the commission's report, and petitions to discharge the measure into a clear and concise, as well as a compelling and suspenseful, story. He moves quickly through numerous interviews with very articulate individuals, all beautifully shot (I love the bright colors). And filling in background, he draws on archival television and newspaper footage, supplementing with details that clarify and, at times, amuse, such as one veteran representative who carries around, in a clearly marked folder, an intimidating list, the Lista, of the infidelities of representatives who have attacked the morality of civil unions. It's priceless.

Oliver also teases out parallels to the 27 US states that have adopted constitutional amendments defining marriage, and he provides brief context on Puerto Rico's history and geography. "Free to Love" offers an instructive, encouraging lesson in civil action encapsulated in a great story.

In Spanish with wonderfully readable subtitles. "Free to Love" screens one night only at Webster University's Winifred Moore auditorium, Friday, April 25th at 7:30 p.m. A Q&A will follow the screening with director and Webster University Associate Professor of Film, Jorge Oliver. For more information, you may call 314-968-7487 or on the web at: Webster.edu/filmseries.
 

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