Chela and Chiquita have lived together for decades in fading elegance, sharing Chela’s childhood home in Asunción, Paraguay. Forceful Chiquita manages practical matters, while reclusive Chela stays in and paints. When mounting money troubles force Chiquita to start selling off family treasures, Chela clings to her tattered dignity and proudly refuses financial help from friends. But this carefully observed tale about social status takes a dramatic turn when Chiquita is sent to prison for covering up their debts. Chela is forced to reconsider her notions of class by going to work—at first hesitantly, offering rides to her elderly (and judgmental) wealthy friends despite her discomfort behind the wheel, and then more confidently, starting a kind of private taxi service. It is a journey that will take her down exciting new avenues of independence, and into thrilling contact with young and beautiful Angy, who encourages her freedom—and a lot more.
First-time feature director Marcelo Martinessi has assembled a marvelous cast, including many non-professionals who lend soulful, lived-in authenticity to these women’s lives—especially Chiquita’s fellow prisoners, whose scenes crackle with the energy of their struggles. In the central role of Chela, Ana Brun, in her first film, is a revelation, winning the Berlin International Film Festival award for Best Actress. Together, Brun and director Martinessi delicately depict the shifting ways that class and desire shape one woman’s world.
— CAROL HARADA
Robasciotti & Philipson
- Language: In Spanish with English subtitles. ASL interpreter present
- Premiere Status: Bay Area