This summer Netflix will be releasing the Spanish language lesbian period drama, Elisa & Marcela. Based on a true story, the film follows Marcela Gracia Ibeas (Greta Fernández) and Elisa Sánchez Loriga (Natalia de Molina). After a fifteen year-long romance that started at their teacher training school, the women wanted to marry. The two women were married by a priest (who assumed they were a heterosexual couple) in 1901 after Marcela took on the persona of a man and went by the name “Mario Sánchez.”
Directed by Isabel Coixet, the film was banned from entering the Cannes Film Festival, a result of the long-standing feud between the festival and streaming service-backed films.
Little press has been given to the film, with the trailer only having a soft debut on YouTube early this morning. Netflix has a history of not properly advertising its shows and films spotlighting LGBT people and people of color. Shows like The Get Down, Everything Sucks!, One Day at a Time, and Sense8, all fan favorites, were cancelled due to a reported lack of an audience or low ratings (which Netflix only selectively shares and is not checked by a third party). All of these shows were led by LGBT characters and people of color. All of these shows were under-advertised and given little press compared to Marvel Netflix shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones or Netflix Original juggernauts Stranger Things and The Crown.
Most shows and films focusing on stories about minorities rely on word of mouth and trailer views on YouTube. Elisa & Marcela only has a few thousand as of the publication of this article and the U.S. Netflix twitter account has not even made a single tweet about it.
Despite Netflix’s lack of marketing, Elisa & Marcela is something to celebrate. Following the footsteps of recent LGBT period dramas like Keira Knightley’s Colette and HBO’s Gentleman Jack, the film is putting the voices of women of color at the forefront of lesbian narratives. The film will be available for streaming and released in select theaters on June 7th.
Header Image via Netflix/Youtube
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Kat McQuade is an Editorial Intern for BUST. She is currently pursuing a B.A. in writing and literature. Originally from the Seattle area, Kat has been drinking coffee every day since she was eleven. You can follow her on Twitter at @Kat_McQ3.