Marcelo Martinessi’s intimate feature debut follows a wealthy, middle-aged gay woman Chela (Ana Brun), whose long-time partner Chiquita (Margarita Irun) is convicted for fraud. They begin to sell valuables and cherished items, and once Chiquita is imprisoned, Chela is forced to step out of the withdrawn confines of their house in order to fend for herself. In doing so, she begins to taxi around ladies in the neighbourhood and meets a younger woman, Angy (Ana Ivanova), who reconnects her to the world and her desires.
Quiet and measured, this Paraguayan drama runs the risk of being slightly too subdued at times. Its naturalistic performances are its biggest selling point, Brun having scooped the Best Actress prize at this year’s Berlinale for her efforts. She is fully convincing as someone breaking out of her shell and trying her best to forge connections. The film also won the Teddy audience award, and while it is refreshing to witness men as completely peripheral players, it doesn’t have all that much to say as a queer film, instead functioning as a far more engrossing commentary on class in Paraguay.
Las Herederas (The Heiresses) | Directed by Marcelo Martinessi (Paraguay, 2018), with Ana Brun, Margarita Irun, Ana Ivanova. Starts November 29.
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