MADRID – Colombia boasts 120 beauty contests and Venezuela has 600 each year including Miss Tanguita, a pageant for under-10s. Days after Colombia’s Paulina Vega, a 22-year-old student, polemically beat out Miss Jamaica, Kaci Fennell to become Miss Universe at Sunday’s Miami pageant, German sales company Media Luna is launching onto the international market “3 Beauties.” It’s a satire from Carlos Caridad-Montero that explores the Venezuelan dream: Beauty, especially of the female kind.
The scribe-helmer’s first feature, “3 Beauties” centers on a single mother, Perla, hell-bent on turning one of her two daughters into a beauty queen. Meanwhile, she ignores her only son. Her obsession leaves all manner of hostages to fortune when her children grow up.
Slaking her own frustrations, and teaching her daughters to vomit after meals, Perla lays it down pretty hard: “A plastic flower never withers,” Perla says, when one confronts a breast and butt job. “A Miss has no friends” is another Perla diktat.
Caridad-Montero, who is now in post on his second feature, “Beyond Silicon Valley,” a documentary which won 2010’s Morelia Lab and 2011’s Arte Award at DocBuenos Aires, calls “3 Beauties” an unsettling dark comedy.” It has just bowed in Venezuela. At Berlin, it will have its market premiere. Caridad Montero and Eliana Navarro Buschbeck produce.
“The film raise many questions about how healthy it is for society to be so obsessed with this type of ideal of beauty, and how it affects women, specially the ones that use this kind of contest to improve their social status or even as a way out of poverty,” Media Luna’s Mariel Macia said to Variety.
Having a Miss in the family boosts social status and is a form of social climbing, Caridad-Montero told CNN. “The successful participation of Venezuela in beauty contests, has earned this small country the reputation as ‘the land of beautiful women,’ ” he added.
“It has spread the idea that there is no more beautiful women than Venezuelans. The media have ensured that this vision is rooted in the Venezuelan psyche of ‘3 Beauties’ doesn’t seek to be a pamphlet against this obsession but to provoke discussion.”
That may not prove too easy in Venezuela, or indeed Colombia, its like-minded neighbor. When Vega won Miss Universe on Sunday night, Colombian president Jose Manuel Santos hailed her victory as nothing less than “a historic event.”