The award winning documentary, No Dress Code Required, is screening this week at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York and while I was not able to attend these screenings in person I was given the opportunity to the watch the film. In this feature, directed by Cristina Herrera Borquez, we are introduced to Victor and Fernando, two men who are deeply in love and wish to get married in Baja California, Mexico. As they begin their journey toward matrimony they are beset with a number of discouraging setbacks and exhausting governmental back and forth.
No Dress Code Required weaves a beautiful story that focuses on the love that Victor and Fernando have for each other. We learn about how they met and how their relationship has grown over time as they make their way through a very difficult journey for legal acceptance. The moments we see between the two of them are beautiful. They care about each other and support each other no matter how difficult things become. Though they may get frustrated they still try and share time together. This documentary not only examines their personal journey, but also the history of legal gay marriage in Baja California and Mexico City, Mexico. Two attorneys connected to Victor and Fernando’s case discuss previous marriages within Mexico and in some moments their reactions become very emotional as they discuss the politicizing of gay rights and gay marriage by certain politicians.
I was completely captivated by this movie. No Dress Code Required is entirely in Spanish, though it does have English subtitles and while I had to rely on the subtitles to understand what was being said there were still very strong elements that did not need subtitles. Moments between Victor and Fernando were beautiful, including a tear filled dance following a massive setback at the courthouse. The love present in this movie is awe inspiring and beyond the love between the two men, they have family members and friends who are there for them and present a wonderfully united front throughout the documentary.
What No Dress Code Required emphasizes so wonderfully is the strength that these men have. No matter what setbacks or government stalling tactics occur they continue fighting. Their paperwork is called into question, bomb threats are called in, at one point they are even both accused of having dementia, and yet they continue filling out paperwork and appearing at the courthouse. Victor and Fernando are such determined individuals and, while this does spoil the film a bit, they get the happy ending that they so richly deserve. No Dress Code Required shows how determination and persistence can bring about positive and amazing changes for the better.
You can see No Dress Code Required TONIGHT, June 16th, at 9:00 PM at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater in New York. Ticket information is available on the Human Rights Watch Film Festival Website.
You can also find out more information about No Dress Code Required on their website.
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