Winner of the Berlinale Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for opening new perspectives and the Silver Bear for Best Actress for Ana Brun, this complex relationship drama takes an unusual look at the lives of wealthy Paraguayan families through the tribulations of a lesbian couple. The women Chela (Brun) and Chiquita (Margarita Irún) have been together for over 30 years, living a life of privilege. Times have changed though, and their financial situation has reached a stage where they are forced to sell some of their precious heirlooms. Things come to head when Chiquita is imprisoned on fraud charges related to their debts. The sheltered Chela must for the first time fend for herself, and, despite her pride, begins working as a chauffeur for the wealthy women of the neighbourhood. Her changed circumstances lead Chela to, perhaps for the first time, contemplate her life and the choices she’s made. In his subtle and perfectly modulated first feature, director Marcelo Martinessi looks at privilege and class distinctions in a country with great inequality. Using this starting point, he tells a story of a long relationship finally called into question, and the beginnings of new desire.
A finely-crafted, beautifully realized debut that exquisitely balances character study with shrewd commentary on class, desire, and the lingering privileges of Paraguay’s elite. – Jay Weissberg, Variety
Marcelo Martinessi is a Paraguayan director and screenwriter. His short films include La Voz Perdida, which won Best Short Film at Venice Film Festival in 2016 and captures the enduring trauma of his country’s political history. The Heiresses, his first feature film, won two prizes in Berlin.
Festival guest: Marcelo Martinessi
Travelling Film Festival Newcastle, June 22 - 24: Tickets also available for The Heiresses at TFF Newcastle.