Directed by Marcelo Martinessi
10th – 16th August 2018
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Set in Paraguay, The Heiresses begins with the central character of this subdued film Chela (Ana Brun) selling off various valuable items to help pay off the spiralling debts of her long-time partner Chiquita (Margarita Irun).
But nevertheless Chiquita is sent to prison, convicted of fraud charges, brought about by her loose spending.
Paraguayan writer/director Marcelo Martinessi, of which this is his first feature film, has created an absorbing and very detailed study of human interaction, helped by outstanding acting throughout.
It is a perceptive study of the personalities involved, which are mainly women. Men are peripheral to an extreme, with only fleeting glimpses of males.
It has been commented that Martinessi did this to illustrate the political and social discrimination of women in Paraguay, brought about by men holding most of the reins of power and control in the country.
Chela’s car, an old Mercedes, which was owned by her late father, acts an a symbol of her movement from her lifestyle of inertia to a more adventurous outlook on those around her and beyond. She begins to drive the car again after a number of years without stepping inside it.
In essence she becomes a taxi driver of sorts, taking various, mainly elderly, women to locations she has never previously visited, including the main motorway with its incessant and thundering traffic.
Meeting and conversing with these women, especially the youngest of them, the sensual and chain smoking Angy (an outstanding performance by Ana Ivanova) helps awaken past emotions and desires within her.
Special mention must go to cinematographer Luis Armando Artega. His eye for subtle nuances is exemplary, particularly his close-up shots, with characters revealing a lot in their facial expressions.
Exactly my type of film!