Set in a small village in a Costa Rican Forest Nathalie Álvarez Mesen’s feature debut is a poetic and mysterious lament for personal freedom. Clara Sola (Wendy Chinchilla Araya) a withdrawn 40-year-old woman who lives with her elderly mother Fresia and teen niece Maria, has a learning difficulty and a spine malformation. Fresia will not permit Clara to undergo life changing surgery, as she believes any change to Clara’s appearance would be against God’s wishes and impact her ability as the village healer and mystic. With the arrival of handsome young worker Santiago, Clara experiences a mystical and sexual awakening as she begins a journey to free herself from the repressive religious and social conventions which have dominated her life.
Director: Nathalie Álvarez Mesén
Cast: Wendy Chinchilla Araya, Ana Julia Porras Espinoza, Daniel Castañeda Rincón
Cannes Film Festival, Directors’ Fortnight, 2021
BFI London Film Festival, 2021
International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2022
‘A luminous lead performance – captured almost entirely in closeup – is at the heart of this mysterious drama of sexuality and divine grace.’★★★★ Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
‘Wendy Chinchilla Arayaquite brilliantly shows a woman both at odds with her world, in its hampering codes and conventions, and at home in it, in the hushed, private connections she makes to her environment.’Caspar Salmon, Sight & Sound