The Heiresses

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Paraguay | 2018 | 95 minutes | Marcelo Martinessi

The bond of a longtime couple is tested when one is sent to prison for debt and the other rediscovers her passions while chauffeuring wealthier older ladies in this Berlinale Silver Bear-winning drama.

Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize and the Silver Berlin Bear (Best Actress and Alfred Bauer Prize) at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival, as well as the FIPRESCI Prize and the Golden India Catalina Award at the 2018 Cartagena Film Festival.

Once proud members of Paraguay's upper crust, brittle spirit Chela (Ana Brun, Silver Bear Award-Best Actress, Berlin Film Festival) and her longtime partner/caregiver Chiquita (Margarita Irun) live a cloistered life in a cluttered home whose grandeur has long fallen into disrepair. Selling off their fortune piece by piece in preparation for Chiquita's upcoming prison stint, Chela receives an unexpected lifeline when gossipy neighbor Pituca (Maria Martins) asks the shy recluse to drive her to her daily bridge game. Soon, Chela finds herself a not-so-reluctant chauffer to a gaggle of aging gossips, but when she's introduced to earthy, sensual Angy (Ana Ivanova), Chela finds herself in the thaw of self-renewal as the sexually open Angy slowly draws her out of her shell, getting Chela in touch with her body—and a willingness to participate in life's messiness and unpredictability. The Heiresses (or Las Herederas) is a sly, subtle, and brave feature debut—framed by a compelling sociocultural commentary—from writer/director Marcelo Martinessi, winner of both Silver Bear-Alfred Bauer Prize and the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at this year's Berlin International Film Festival.

Director Biography
Marcelo Martinessi is a filmmaker from Paraguay. He has developed cinema workshops for homeless youth living on the streets of his home city Asuncion. In 2010 the government of Paraguay gave him the task of setting up the country's first public television station. Martinessi's feature film debut The Heiresses played at the Berlin Film Festival in 2018.

Sponsored by First Sight Productions, AM1150 KKNW

  • Original Language Title: Las herederas
  • Director: Marcelo Martinessi
  • Principal Cast: Ana Brun, Margarita Irun, Ana Ivanova, Nilda Gonzalez, Maria Martins
  • Premiere Status: US
  • Country: Paraguay, Uruguay, Germany, Brazil, Norway, France
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 95 minutes
  • Producer: Sebastian Pena Escobar
  • Screenplay: Marcelo Martinessi
  • Cinematographers: Luis Armando Arteaga
  • Editors: Fernando Epstein
  • Music: Fernando Henna
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Berlin International Film Festival 2018 (Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize, Silver Bear for Best Actress, FIPRESCI International Critics Prize)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Spanish
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Distrib Films US
  • International Sales: Luxbox