Director Josep Rovira and researcher Montserrat Bailac told me that I would probably not really understand their ”Dear Dona Elena”, as there was no contextual information given in the film that makes a focus on the fifties of a Spain during the Franco regime. They were wrong, I got it all, as the film is a kitchy compilation of wonderful, archive based stories about (mostly) women who write to a Dona Elena, who either gives them an answer on radio or through letters sent to those who write because they have questions to be answered and problems to be solved.
In an elegant montage the director links the content of the letters to archive from the time, documentary material but also fiction, with close-up on the letters that were found recently, and with a sound score that conveys the atmosphere of the purist decade. You are entertained when you hear the question of whether a French kiss can make you pregnant, and you freeze a bit when you listen to the letter from a woman, who is getting beaten up by her husband, with the answer back from Dona Elena: You have to please your husband, and then all will be fine! Only for a Spanish audience, NO, the conservatism of the fifties, the supressed role of the women, the lack of sex education, the images from the homes – all that is to be found all over, I guess, at least in a Nordic country, where I come from, well the role of the church is not to be compared, but apart from that the similarities are more significant than the differences.