Film Review: ‘No Dress Code Required’

“But we’re OK, we’ll continue the fight.” Producer, director, and writer Cristina Herrera Bórquez follows a gay couple as they find themselves in the center of a crusade for equality.

Victor and Fernando’s fight for same-sex marriage in Mexicali, Mexico means more than just their legal union. It’s a battle between a state that refuses to abide by the Supreme Court judgement, and its citizens who are willing to sacrifice a whole lot to gain even more. No Dress Code Required is a story of how two human beings have found each other against the odds, now fighting to preserve that love.

The Mexican Supreme Court has ruled same-sex marriage legal throughout Mexico, yet the city of Mexicali continues to deny this decision. Cristina Herrera Bórquez documents the chronicles of the gay couple as they persevere against the bigotry of the Mexicali authorities. They are thrown hurdles one after another, from public shaming to the strings of excuses by the Mexicali authorities to prevent the two from obtaining a legal marriage. Bórquez introduces us to the details and intimacies of Victor and Fernando’s lives; from how they were bullied as children, to how they came to know such a thing as falling in love. With photographs of their childhood and interviews with Victor and Fernando, Bórquez humanizes the gay partners and their relationship in a way that the municipality refuses to see.

Despite their reserved composure and apparent doggedness during the day, they come home at night, vulnerable and worn out from their many battles. No Dress Code Required is not a film about exceptional heroes, but of ordinary people who get frustrated, angry, and scared at the world like everybody else. What we learn from their documentary is a familiar story: that there are always those who will obstruct you from attaining what you believe in, but there are also those who will fight alongside you in a battle of David and Goliath.

We screened the film at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival at IFC Center.

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