The Second Mother
Dir. Anna Muylaert. 2015, 112 mins. Digital projection. In Portuguese with English subtitles. With Regina Casé, Michel Joelsas, Camila Márdila, Karine Teles, Lourenco Mutarelli. A unique take on a classic scenario, The Second Mother centers around Val (Casé), a hard-working, live-in housekeeper in modern day São Paulo. For many years, Val has dutifully taken care of her wealthy employers’ needs, from cooking and cleaning to serving as a surrogate mother to their teenage son, who she has raised since he was a toddler. But when Val’s estranged and rebellious daughter Jessica (Márdila) suddenly shows up, the unspoken but intrinsic class barriers that exist within the home are thrown into disarray. Winner of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Acting and chosen as one of the top five foreign language films of 2015 by the National Board of Review, Muylaert’s film is, in her own words, “a lifetime project that reflects the recent history of the country as well as choices that I have made in my own life.”
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