Die Erbinnen (2018) Poster


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Touching, elegant, genuine and thoroughly engrossing
themadmovieman22 August 2018
I was really impressed by this film. Although it's a slow and quiet movie throughout, underneath burns a thoroughly riveting story complete with surprisingly intense dramatic tension, a brilliantly down-to-earth premise, and a wonderful elegance that makes The Heiresses an absolutely delightful watch from start to finish.

For a movie that only lasts just over 90 minutes, and seems so slow and quiet on the outside, there really is a lot to pick through here, but I'll start with what impressed me most of all: the performances.

The great thing about the acting in this film is that it feels so genuine right the way through, with lead Ana Brun putting in an incredible turn that's full of emotion and drama, while supporting players like Margarita Irun, Ana Ivanova and more all really add to the emotional and intimate depth of the story at hand, all playing each of their roles with a real sense of genuineness and elegance that make everyone on screen absolutely fascinating to follow throughout.

What's even more striking about the performances here is that the most memorable and powerful moments of the film don't come from the film's dialogue, but rather the core of the acting. Particularly in the film's middle act, when our leading lady, Ana Brun, encounters a real turning point in her life, there's never a direct mention of what's going on inside her head, nor any explicit remarks regarding the sudden change of pace and scenery she has found herself in since her partner was taken away to prison.

However, without any dialogue, Brun's performance is so clear and effective that you're able to tap into exactly what her character is thinking almost immediately. And there's no sense of overacting either, but rather than down-to-earth nature of the performance shining once again as you become deeper and deeper engrossed in what evolves beautifully into a very intimate and incredibly touching story.

Of course, all of that isn't entirely down to the performances, because director Marcelo Martinessi does a lot to make that striking turn of events work so successfully.

At the outset, the film's slow-paced and quiet nature may make it seem rather inaccessible for casual viewers, but Martinessi does a fantastic job to keep you engrossed from the start. With a good balance between touching, patient drama and excellent humour, The Heiresses is a thoroughly entertaining watch right from the beginning, and that's what really allows you to get engrossed in the story before things really start to turn into gear.

What's most striking about Martinessi's directing is how he manages to create a powerful sense of nervous energy around the whole film, even when things look perfectly normal from the outside. Following her partner's imprisonment, our leading lady is forced to venture out into the world once again, and ends up taking up an informal job as a chauffeur. It's a very simple premise that sees her driving her friends around town, yet with one single line of dialogue, and very clever directing right the way through, that entire side of the story is filled with very effective tension, something I really wasn't expecting to see from the film.

And with that, the dramatic power on display is established firmly in the early second act, allowing the crux of the film's story - that of our leading lady seeing an enormous change in her life as she discovers a new sense of freedom and independence - to really hit home over the course of the final act.

From the outside, The Heiresses is a quiet and patient piece that may not seem like the clearest opportunity for brilliant and tense drama. And yet, with a whole host of fantastic performances, a riveting and touching story, excellent direction from Marcelo Martinessi, and a combination of beautiful dramatic elegance with sweet and enjoyable humour, it's a film that's thoroughly engrossing, and absolutely an entertaining watch at the same time.
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andrebatucadabsb21 December 2018
That kind of movie that sounds like reality. Great characters and a touch of sensitivity and beauty.
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Supple and sophisticated
stephen-62417 November 2018
What even is a Paraguay? No idea, never been there, but this is terrific. Ana Brun hits the ball out of the park, showing big life stresses and changes through just the subtlest of inflections.

Never heard of the director either. He delivers a sophisticated, morally perplexing and topical movie. I'll sign up for anything else he makes.

Thanks to Palace for bringing this one to Australia.
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expertise from Paraguay
ferguson-628 February 2019
Greetings again from the darkness. It would be a tight race to determine which is rarer: a Paraguayan film with distribution, or a movie centered on a middle-aged lesbian couple together for 30 years. The first feature film from writer-director Marcelo Martinessi is remarkable in its level of quiet, as everything that matters lies beneath the surface. Neither happiness nor sadness is particularly obvious at any given time.

Chela (Ana Brun) and Chiquita (Margarita Irun) live in the capital city of Asuncion and are both from wealthy families. They are in the process of selling off family heirlooms from their large (and well worn) house due to the debt run up by Chiquita ... a debt that has her headed soon to jail after being found guilty of fraud. Chela, the introverted artist, is embarrassed and withdrawn by their situation, whereas the more affable and gregarious Chiquita takes it all in stride. We can't help but notice that the items being sold and this couple's relationship both seem relics of the past, trapped in a time warp.

Confinement and restrictions of movement play a role for both women. Obviously Chiquita is confined to jail, while the cave-like house surrounds Chela. Early on, we see further contrasts. Chiquita flourishes in jail, while Chela struggles with the placement of her coffee cup on the silver serving tray delivered by her maid (Nilda Gonzalez). In fact, the hiring of a maid is somewhat confounding to us - who does that while selling off furnishings to make ends meet?

Although Chela refuses help from the friends she has generously assisted over the years, circumstances are such that she kind of falls into a private uber-taxi business for the local ladies (doctor appointments, card games, funerals, etc). Chela slowly begins to discover living life again. After years of not driving, she's a bit nervous at first, but driving the car is her literal vehicle to a new life approach. Her jail visits with Chiquita are a bit awkward, but things turn for Chela when she meets and becomes enamored with Angy (Ana Ivanova). Angy is a lively woman who ignites interest and hope within Chela. As an object of desire, Angy excels ... turning Chela on to designer sunglasses and cigarettes.

All three lead actresses are relatively inexperienced, cinematically speaking; yet each delivers an exceptional performance. Ms. Irun is a stage veteran, while Ms. Ivanova has a terrific screen presence. Most remarkably, this is Ms. Brun's first movie role, and she excels as a quiet listener and silent observer through doorways. As she emerges from the shadows, her transformation offers hope, while still remaining cloaked in sadness. A more experienced actress might have instinctually offered up a more showy performance, though Ms. Brun's Chela is what keeps us mesmerized.

To call this film female-centric is an understatement. The few men are mere blurs on the screen. It's no wonder the film has been so well received at festivals, as the story, performances, music and camera work offer something a bit out of the norm. It was Paraguay's submission for Best Foreign Language Oscar, and it would have fit quite comfortably with the final nominations.
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Touching, intimate and realistic
guilherme-caleffi21 April 2019
Martinessi presents us with a touching, intimate and realistic film. There is no melodarama, exaggeration ... The complexity is subjective and completely engaging. Dependence, empowerment, prejudice and sexual desire are handled elegantly. In addition, we have seen an incredible portrait of a traditional decadent elite present not only in Paraguay but in many rural societies of Latin America. A movie that must be watched.
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Icily Paced Paraguayan Film
larrys33 July 2019
This is an icily paced Paraguayan film, which will probably appeal only to those viewers who have enough patience to allow an intricate drama to slowly unfurl

Chela (Ana Brun) and Chiquita (Margarita Irun) have been in a 30 year long lesbian relationship. But now with Chiquita possibly facing jail time for "fraud" they find their financial situation is precarious and have begun to sell some of their valuable possessions, most of which they have inherited.

When Chiquita is finally remanded to prison, we are witness to Chela's slow transformation from a depressed and introverted woman. She begins to earn some cash by offering her Mercedes for lifts to her neighbors, even though she doesn't have a driver's license.

Eventually, she will meet the younger and vivacious Agny (Ana Ivanova) who will stir up some long buried passion in Chela, as well as loads of anxiety. The changes in Chela are slow and subtle and Brun gives a superb and understated performance here. I was shocked to see that this is her first film, but then I read she has had extensive stage experience.

Overall, loads of realism in this movie that, as mentioned, you'll need a ton of patience to enjoy its subtleties . So if you need lots of action or don't like dialogue driven slow-paced movies then you may be better off passing on this one.

To note: the English subtitles here are quite small.
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Excellent acting, horribly boring story
djomla6924 January 2019
All the actresses in the film were absolutely stunning. The performances were layered, full of fine, subtle emotional expressions, transferring the character states very well. On the other hand, story was dragged and boring to death, without much happening. Although the characters were played well, their stories were quite uninteresting and tiresome. I'm a 25 year old male, so maybe that's a big factor and there's a possibility that I just couldn't connect with the characters and their stories.
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Tepid at best
caughlan_anne17 October 2018
Too many cooks? So many countries involved and still a lame and stupid story about two women who go broke ad start selling off their furniture. To stoke her ego one of the women tries an adulterous fling while her wife is serving time in jail for fraud. Who cares? I see this movie got an award in Berlin, but there were better actors this year.
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For God's sake don't!!!
alvktt9 June 2019
Without doubt or exaggeration this is easily the absolutely worst movie I have ever seen in my life and I'm 62 years old. Truly ghastly. Just don't!
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So boring
ingamazonaite29 May 2019
The movie is so boring. I'll waited till the end of movie, because i expected something to happen, but the end was just noting.4* is very generous rating.
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