The Heiresses | Chicago Reader
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The Heiresses

In this crafty debut feature, Paraguayan writer-director Marcelo Martinessi looks at microlevel power dynamics to comment subtly on society at large. His protagonists are a sixtysomething lesbian couple who once occupied a place in high society but are now struggling to make ends meet. At first their slide down the social ladder doesn’t change the fundamental nature of their relationship—one still makes all the major decisions, while the other passively goes along—but things take a turn when the dominant partner goes to prison for fraud and the passive one must find a way to support herself. One could interpret the latter woman's growing sense of self-determination as a metaphor for Paraguay coming into its own after a long era of dictatorial rule, but Martinessi doesn’t overemphasize this reading; his characters and setting are sharply drawn, and the drama goes down with sly, understated humor. In Spanish with subtitles.

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