The winner of two awards at the 2018 Berlinale including Best Actress, Marcelo Martinessi’s stunning debut drama is an immersive look into the lives of the privileged through the tribulations of a hesitant woman in quiet crisis.

Las herederas
Director: Marcelo Martinessi
Cast: Ana Brun, Margarita Irún, Ana Ivanova, Nilda Gonzalez, María Martins, Alicia Guerra, Yverá Zayas
Duration: 98 mins
Country of Origin: Paraguay

MMature themes, sexual references and coarse language

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The Heiresses

“Astonishing. This subtle, beautifully acted and in many ways remarkable debut is an exciting discovery.”
David Stratton, THE AUSTRALIAN

“Moving, atmospheric and wry. A personal story but also very much a political tale. It’s a terrifically accomplished debut full of humour and deep tenderness.”

“An evocative tale of class and female connection. Will resonate wherever you happen to live.”

“A tickling, near-perfect tragicomedy. The nuances are so fine you could slip them between adjacent atoms. Quietude and conundrum, lovingly and exquisitely delineated.”

“Vivid and affecting. Almost subliminally alerts you to complexities that many films would prefer to simplify. It also draws you into a social milieu that is both highly specific and intuitively accessible.”

“Persuasive and moving. A perceptive study of class and personal awakening.”
Justin Chang, LA TIMES

A gem. An immersive drama that never ceases to feel utterly real. Faultlessly played, down to the last mannerism and nuance. It’s a tense slow-burner with that rare virtue, a great ending. Absolutely superb.
Mark Demetrius, FILMINK

“Beautiful. An elegant masterpiece. Meticulously captured, bursting with love, anguish and heartache.”

“A finely-crafted, beautifully realized debut. Exquisitely balances character study with shrewd commentary on class, desire, and the lingering privileges of Paraguay’s elite.”
Jay Weissberg, VARIETY

“Superb. Full of gentle wit and playful observations. The acting throughout is strong, and Brun is terrific. It’s a performance of tragicomic genius.”

“Excellent. A secret love story set among the complacent wealthy gerontocracy of Asunción. Martinessi shrewdly combines subtlety, melancholy, satirical observation and candour.”
Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN

“Richly textured. A subtle, powerful exploration of the changing nature of class, repression and desire in modern Paraguay featuring a stunning central performance from Ana Brun. Martinessi allows the performances to shine and reminds us, joyously, that the female over-50 experience means a great deal more than baking and book clubs.”
Nikki Baughan, THE LIST

“Nothing short of magical. So intelligent, tenderly told and true. Ana Brun is a revelation, mesmerising in an unmissable performance, most likely one of the greatest of the year. Her Chela is a wonder to behold. See the film for her, and all those like her.”
Abi Silverthorne, THE HOLLYWOOD NEWS

WINNER – 2018 SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL – Sydney Film Prize for Best Film In Competition
WINNER – 2018 BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL – Best Actress (Ana Brun) & Alfred Bauer Prize

Winner of both the Berlinale Silver Bear for Best Actress and the prestigious Alfred Bauer Prize for opening new perspectives, writer/director Marcelo Martinessi’s stunning debut drama THE HEIRESSES is an immersive and emotionally compelling look into the lives of the privileged, through the tribulations of a hesitant woman in quiet crisis.

Asunción, Paraguay, 2013. Sixty-somethings Chela (Ana Brun, superb in her debut performance) and Chiquita (Margarita Irún), both descendants of rich families, have been living together for more than thirty years, largely insulated from the troubles of the outside world. Times have changed though, and with debts mounting, the pair begins to sell off some precious heirlooms. Ultimately the financial situation proves untenable, and convicted of petty fraud, Chiquita is sent to prison by a court order.

Suddenly, the sheltered Chela must fend for herself. Swallowing her pride, she reluctantly begins working as a chauffeur for the other wealthy women of the neighbourhood. The changed circumstances lead her to, perhaps for the first time, contemplate her life and choices…

Subtle, perfectly modulated and impeccably performed, Martinessi exquisitely balances character study with shrewd commentary on class, desire and privilege to tell an intimate and serenely rewarding story of loss, loyalty and self-determination. Deservedly awarded best feature film at the 2018 Sydney Film Festival, THE HEIRESSES is, indeed, a jewel.

(video) “Paraguay’s Oscar Hopeful On The Importance of Women & Love” – Deadline (28/11/18)

“Sydney Film Festival 2018: Tender portrait of quiet struggle takes out top gong” – Sydney Morning Herald (08/06/18)

“Marcelo Martinessi on his beautiful debut feature The Heiresses” – with ABC Radio National‘s Jason Di Rosso (01/11/18)

“Love and debt in a time of change” – director Marcelo Martinessi with The Australian‘s Philippa Hawker (5/11/18)

Mr. Martinessi on the red carpet for the Australian Premiere at 2018 Sydney Film Festival.

The Heiresses