Jerking Off as a Political Act

Alonso Aguilar

Vivir y otras ficciones

We are all condemned to existing within a body: an apparently arbitrary space which, from the point of gestation, predetermines the possibilities open to each one of us. Historically, the mind/body dichotomy has favored the former element as the realm of political thought, but when the components of an oppressive social fabric are elucidated ―to the point, indeed, of abjection ―, then even the most minimal sensorial experience is charged with a subversive potential. In LIVING AND OTHER FICTIONS (2016), the Catalan director Jo Sol explores this discourse from the self-determination of broken bodies, struggling to forge an identity in a society that extols their perceived disabilities only in order to render them invisible.
The film intertwines the story of Antonio, an activist with a disability, who works to create spaces where others like himself can explore their own sexuality, with that of Pepe, an older man just released from a psychiatric hospital, who is searching for an apparently unattainable sense of normality. Through the lyrical, highly personal cinematography and editing of Afra Rigamonti, tinged with a melancholy drawn from the world of flamenco, Jo Sol explores the relations between his characters with an anthropological vision imbued with poetic power.
Out of the singularity of its formal approach and its conceptual analysis, LIVING AND OTHER FICTIONS functions as a testament to marginalized desire, wherein anomalous sexuality escapes the grotesqueness of its condition to be appropriated as the ultimate radical stance, and the banality of playing with oneself is transformed into a manifesto of resistance.