The Heiresses

March 26, 2019 Members’ Choice 8:30pm
There will be a Q&A with the film’s director, Marcelo Martinessi

It’s a shame. Chela (Brun) and Chiquita (Irun) are down on their luck, when money’s so short what can you possibly do? They both come from wealthy families, so they start to sell the possessions they’ve inherited, but it’s still not enough. Chiquita’s solution lands her in jail and Chela, alone and aloof, has to find another way to make ends meet and move towards the light.

A film about the fragility of women’s financial security in a male-dominated society and the need to find inner resources. A sympathetically observed slice of social realism as a class of Paraguayan women lose their wealth and status and learn to cope with change as the highly stratified society they knew rapidly fades. Martinessi directs with restraint, sensitivity and humour and what results is a film that will stay with you. A rare cinematic insight into Paraguayan life and a film that critics and audiences have loved.

The Heiresses illuminates a conservative culture, with a rigid class system and strict conventions for social interaction, that is gradually becoming more open, adventurous and inclusive. A culture in transition, as it faces the challenges of taking responsibility and fending for itself. Martinessi on why he again chose to centre his film around women: “I think the story of Paraguay has a history of women; they’re really the protagonists of Paraguayan history. I mean, in the country we have many wars – for example one in 1870 that destroyed, like, 90% of the male population. So in a way, women were always the ones constructing the internal fibre of society. […] And if I wanted to talk about Paraguay, I knew I needed to make a film with women.”

Paraguayan director Marcelo Martinessi strikes an exquisitely melancholic note with his female-centric debut feature, starring an impressive Ana Brun as a woman facing a disturbingly uncertain future.’  Maria Delgado, Sight & Sound

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Film Information
Release year: 2018
Running time:   98 mins
Directed by: Marcelo Martinessi
Language: Spanish (English subtitles)
Country: Paraguay
Genre: Drama
Starring: Ana Brun, Margarita Irun, Ana Ivanova
More info:

Rotten Tomatoes
WFC Audience Score:  65%

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