Val (stunningly performed by Regina Casé) is perfectly content to take care of every one of her wealthy employers’ needs, from cooking and cleaning to being a surrogate mother to their teenage son, who she has raised since he was a toddler. But when Val’s estranged daughter Jessica suddenly shows up, the unspoken but intrinsic class barriers that exist within the home are thrown into disarray. Jessica is smart, confident, and ambitious, and refuses to accept the upstairs/downstairs dynamic, testing relationships and loyalties and forcing everyone to reconsider what family really means.
After years away, Ariel returns to Buenos Aires seeking to reconnect with his father Usher, who has founded a charity foundation in Once, the city’s bustling Jewish district where Ariel spent his youth. In the process of trying to meet his father and getting entangled in his charitable commitments, Ariel also reconnects with his own Jewish roots. Usher staves off a meeting with his son; roping him into a number of small assignments, during the course of which Ariel meets Eva, who volunteers for Usher’s charity. Eva’s radiant inner strength and independent spirit inspires Ariel to come to grips with the traditions that once divided him and his father and to rethink his own identity. Tenderly, and with a lightness of touch, Ariel lets go of his old expectations and allows himself to be drawn into the center of a vibrant and fascinating community.
THE TRAVEL AGENT (Pequeñas mentiras piadosas)
Niccolò Bruna / Cuba, Spain, Italy / 87 min / 2015 / Spanish with English subtitles
From her tiny office overlooking the U.S. Interests Section, 58-year old Lourdes counsels thousands of Cubans seeking a U.S. travel visa. She coaches them on answering tricky questions, fine-tuning their stories so they have a better chance of succeeding. Despite helping others to travel, she has never been able to visit her own mother, son, brothers, grandsons, and nephews in Florida. After a long wait, Lourdes’ time has finally come: her interview is set. Her dream to visit her dying mother, who emigrated during the sixties, has never been so close. Will she be able to travel and finally overturn her destiny of forced separation?