Dir. Rania Attieh & Daniel García
Official Selection International Feature: Argentina/United States
The Richter Scale says: Among the things a woman has in life is motherhood, that feeling of having a baby develop inside you and then come out as a fully formed human being ready to wander the world. It’s this idea that the future is growing inside you that gives people hope about life and in this film, Rania Attieh and Daniel García (in one of three projects they have collaborated on to date) explore what happens when two women lose that future while something is happening that could destroy the future for all mankind. These two women, while very different, have three things in common. They’re both named Helen, they live in the same town and both have a broken link to a maternity that was never realized.
The first Helen (Robin Bartlett)is in her 60’s, lives with her husband in the town of Troy in New York State (Helen of Troy, just so you know what they’re doing here) and has a doll she takes care of as if it were an actual baby (she even breastfeeds it). We never find out why she’s doing it, though I’m sure everybody will have their theories. The only thing we know is that this baby isn’t real and she’s not the only woman who’s doing that (there’s a group, apparently). The other Helen (Rebecca Dayan) is 34 years old and has a successful art business with her husband Alex and she’s 4 months pregnant. When we’re with her we find out that something strange has happened and through that, people start going missing, including Helen’s baby disappearing from inside her as if she never pregnant. Was she? All we know is this incident drives both Helens to madness.
It’s always admirable when a movie refuses to tell the audience exactly what’s going on and instead trusts its two actresses (both phenomenal) to carry the emotional weight of it all. If the characters don’t know what’s going on, why should the audience? Why shouldn’t we be as frightened as they are, or at least frightened for them? The story is divided into five acts, like a Greek Tragedy and there are other connections to Greek Mythology that I’ll leave for you to discover.
This film screens today at 2:00 at the Juárez Theater. Don’t miss it!
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