40-year-old Clara lives in picturesque surroundings in a Costa Rican mountain village, with her overprotective mother and a niece. On account of her distinctive manner and her allegedly healing hands, the local community see Clara as an incarnation of the Blessed Virgin. Thanks to enthusiastic marketing from her mother, more and more people come to visit them hoping for help and blessings. When this enforced existence finally collides with a sexual awakening and yearning for independence and freedom, Clara begins to fight a battle for her own liberation.
Debut feature director Nathalie Álvarez Mesén uses magical realism and natural mysticism to draw her portrait of a woman struggling to be free of her extremely controlling mother. This is done by way of atmosphere and dramaturgy which tingle with the strong, unfulfilled powers of the protagonist. First-time actor Wendy Chinchilla Araya delivers an electrifying interpretation of Clara, completing a grippingly beautiful cinematic whole.
Clara Sola had its world premiere as part of the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes, to rave reviews. It went on to win the New Voices Award at Films From the South, and no less than 5 Guldbagge Awards in Sweden: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Sound.
Review by Films From the South
Year of production:
Country of origin:
Sweden, Costa Rica
Spanish speech, English subtitles
Nathalie Álvarez Mesén
Maria Camila Arias, Nathalie Álvarez Mesén
Wendy Chinchilla Araya, Daniel Castañeda Rincón, Ana Julia Porras Espinoza