The London-based Galician Film Forum (GFF) will be celebrating the Day of Galician Literature this year with the UK premiere of ‘Nación’, the latest film from Margarita Ledo. From 15 to 23 May, the film will be available on the platform Vimeo On Demand exclusively for viewers based in the UK. There will also be an online Q&A with the director on Wednesday 19 May at 7pm British time which will be shared live on the GFF’s social media channels. The event has been supported by the Office for Scientific and Cultural Affairs at the Spanish Embassy in London.
The film will be screened in Galician with English subtitles and viewers will be able to rent it for 48 hours for £3.95 (the number of tickets is limited). This screening takes place seven weeks after the film premiered at cinemas in Spain, where it is still showing. ‘Nación’ was shown for the first time at the 17 Festival de Sevilla where it won the prize for Best Direction of a Spanish Film. It has also received the Mestre Mateo 2021 award for Best Documentary.
A struggle without end
In this non-fiction film, Margarita Ledo looks into how long it took women to receive rights ‘not only to vote, but to attain a paid job and to have the opportunity to become independent. In summary, how long it took us to become Nation’. At the core of the film is the closure of the Pontesa ceramics factory in 2001 and how, twenty years after the long-awaited sentence on the pending debt claim, a group of workers recalls the symbol of their individual liberty, their economic freedom and their struggle as a union.
These workers have kept the fight for women’s rights in Spain alive in the twentieth century. Their life story is told through the presence of a sphinx, played by Eva Veiga, who seeks out the memories of the women working in the textile, ceramic and conserves industries and announces voices and archives that link different times and bodies together.
In ‘Nación’, archive images are interspersed with acted scenes from Mónica Camaño, Mónica de Nut, Laura Martínez Iglesias and Xoana Pintos. The film also includes some ex-workers from Pontesa including Nieves Pérez Lusquiños, Manuela Nóvoa Pérez, Ester García Lorenzo, Carmen Portela Lusquiños e Carmen Álvarez Seoane.
Margarita Ledo Andión (1951, Castro de Rei, Lugo) is a very important cultural figure who is known for her work as a filmmaker and a writer. She is also a professor in audiovisual communication at the University of Santiago de Compostela where she was also dean. Her first book, a book of poems called ‘Parloar cun eu,cun intre,cun inseuto’ was published in 1970 followed by further poetry, fiction essays and research.
She has founded and directed several publications that focus on the importance of the Galician language and tend to have a militant spirit behind them. Her filmography includes the two feature-length films ‘Santa Liberdade’ (2004), ‘Liste, pronunciado Líster’ (2007) and the fictional film ‘A cicatriz branca’ (2012) which was based on her novel ‘Porta Blindada’. She has also directed various experimental short films and documentaries. In 2017, the international film festival Documenta Madrid held a retrospective for her. She was awarded the National Prize of Galician Culture in cinema and audiovisual production in 2008 and the Otero Pedrayo award in 2017. She is also a fellow of the Royal Galician Academy.