How Art and Politics Coincide for Emanuela Boisbouvier
Emanuela Boisbouvier, a Monégasque actress who is based in Los Angeles, has built a career on merging her passions for acting and social change. She has always been passionate about history and politics – an interest that began in her early years of schooling and pursued through her bachelor’s degree which she obtained at the University of California, Los Angeles. She studied Political Science with a focus on International Relations, while simultaneously studying Theater. This felt like the perfect way to merge her passions. However, as time moved on, she wondered if she’d have to choose on or the other, as these seem like fairly opposite paths to pursue. But she quickly realized there was a way to do both.
When she was living abroad in South America in 2016, Emanuela went to see a play in Buenos Aires which was a local production of a small play that told the story of the desaparecidos – the ones who disappeared. It was a very powerful play that so many folks in the audience resonated with to some degree. Emanuela was there studying human rights and transitional justice, and particularly the impact that collective memory can have on a society that has gone through trauma. Sitting in that small Argentinian black box theater was an eye-opening moment for Emanuela, as she realized the power that art can have of politics and society. In that room – no one left unscathed. You sat and sobbed and empathized with the actors telling these heart-breaking but true accounts of Argentina’s history. She realized in that moment that you can affect people so deeply through art and decided to make that her mission. To tell stories that matter and uplift voices that are seldom heard.
Fast forward to five years later – Emanuela writes and directs her debut short film, Margins, that she also acts in opposite Doyin Domingo. The film tells the story of an interracial queer couple, Kai and Lucie, who are navigating their relationship on the backdrop of the wave of Black Lives Matter marches that were springing up all over Los Angeles. This story, inspired from Emanuela’s life at the time, wants to shed light on how Lucie wants to take part in these marches and protests because she deeply cares about injustice and also wants to stand up in solidarity with her partner; while simultaneously knowing that being a foreigner in the United States carries higher stakes and that if anything were to go wrong at these marches, the consequences for her capacity to stay in the US could be dire.
Margins does an amazing job at telling this slice of life story – where both these women try to meet the other half way and find ways to support and care for each other even though their hardships are very different. It’s a story of resilience and love, and how far one is willing to go to save the person they care for; and how much they are willing to risk. The title was a drawn from bell hook’s essay “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center” which posits that the experiences of all women must be included if feminist theory hopes to fulfill its revolutionary potential. She insists that feminist theory must be redefined in order to encompass the lives and ideas of women on the margin. It is a feminism that all women can identify with and feel part of.
In choosing this title, Emanuela shows us how she is able to align her passions. Finding creative and artistic outlets to uplift marginalized voices and bring to the center stories that we don’t often hear.