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Argentina, 2012, 83 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Family Issues
Program: Focus on Nation Cinema: ArgentinaLanguage: Spanish/Wichi Lhämtes English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Daniela Seggiaro
Producer: Alvaro UrtizbereaEditor: Ana Poliak, Martin Mainoli, Daniela SeggiaroScreenwriter: Daniela SeggiaroCinematographer: Will BehnischPrincipal Cast: Rosmeri Segundo, Ximena Banús, Victor Hugo Carrizo, Camila Romagnolo, Sasa Sharet Isabel Mendoza
Yolanda is a servant in the home of a middle-class family in a dusty, remote town in northern Argentina. Her people are the Wichi, an indigenous group of only about 25,000 who live near the Paraguayan border.
The home’s matriarch, Sara, is a harried mother of four who’s caught up in preparations for the quinceañera of daughter Antonella, which she hopes will be the biggest and best party the town has seen. She gets little help from her largely absentee husband, and struggles to manage Antonella, who’s impulsive in a typically teenage way, doing things like hacking at her unruly hair in an attempt to tame it. When Sara takes her to a hairdresser to fix the problem, she brings Yola along in what seems like a generous gesture but is actually a betrayal. This act requires no rationalization, since Sara and the others interpret Yola’s quiet as passivity and indifference. This same serenity appears when Yola’s mother comes to tell her that a relative is ill. These spare exchanges stand in contrast to Sara’s weary chatter and her prodding of everyone to ready the home for the big party. Like the film itself, Yola’s simplicity masks deeper, more subtle truths. Ordinary events become a metaphor for how Argentine society treats its native peoples.
The story is interspersed with exquisite still images, and childhood flashbacks narrated by Yola in her native tongue, Wichi Lhämtes. The film is a quiet, meditative piece, which director Daniela Seggiaro based in part on her anthropologist mother’s work with indigenous peoples.
- VAL MOSES
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