Opening 20 Aug 2015
Writing credits: Anna Muylaert
Principal actors: Regina Casé, Helena Albergaria, Michael Joelsas, Camilia Márdila, Luis Miranda
Val leaves her young daughter in the care of relatives in Pernambuco, Brazil. She goes to work as the housekeeper for a well-to-do family in Sao Paulo, where she is treated well as long as she remembers her place: dependable and agreeable. She lives in the fancy house with swimming pool and cares for the son of the family, Fabinho, for whom she is practically a “real” mother. She hasn’t seen her own daughter Jessica for more than 10 years. One day a grown-up Jessica explodes into their lives. She is in Sao Paulo to take her college entrance exam (something which Fabinho also intends to do). The parents, Barbara and Carlos, generously offer Jessica their “guest” room, until she finds reasonable student quarters. Val not only disagrees, she is shocked at Jessica’s disrespectful, emancipated behavior and fears the worst.
Slowly the plot evolves with this handful of excellent actors. The editing is especially good as the story unfolds at exactly the right pace while we anticipate each new move and watch Val grow in her estimation of herself and her new values. Perhaps she had no prior alternatives and now she does. You will agree with the audience of the 2015 Berlinale film festival which voted this best film in the Panorama section. Both Regina Case and Camilia Márdila won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting at the 2015 Sundance festival. (Becky Tan)