Three Rivers Film Festival Preview: “Carajita”

Year: 2021

Runtime: 85 minutes

Directors: Silvina Schnicer, Ullises Porra

Writers: Silvina Schnicer, Ulises Porra, Ulla Prida

Stars: Magnolia Núñez, Cecile Van Welie, Adelanny Padilla, Richard Douglas, Clara Luz Lozano, Javier Hermida, Genesis Buret, Uberbi de la Rosa, Mario Cersósimo, Eduardo Martinez Sturla

By Morgan Roberts

An intimate portrait of the powerful human connection and complicated relationships between women, “Carajita” is a captivating film. As a nanny, Yarisa (Magnolia Núñez) has spent much of her time with the daughter of her employers, Sara (Cecile Van Welie). When Sara’s family moves, Yarisa follows and the move brings her closer to her own daughter Mallory (Adelanny Padilla) who she left behind years ago.

As Yarisa’s past and present collide, the social structures of her community and the family she works for begins to unravel the previous balance in her life. “Carajita” really leans into its exploration of the haves and have-nots in society. Yarisa comes from the working class. Sara, a young woman of privilege, does not see how her money or fair complexion afford her luxuries until she comes to a precipice with Mallory, Yarisa, and their community.

The explorations of race, gender, socioeconomics at first feel like an examination; as the film progresses, those clashes go from independent drama to feeling more like a thriller. It is not until you reach the climax of the film that you realize your own internalized tensions and anxieties. The story so seamlessly puts you in Yarisa’s shoes while challenging you in the same manner as Sara.

This could not be achieved without the stellar performances by Núñez, Van Welie, and Padilla. There is so much unspoken in the work they are doing but it transcends verbal articulation. They each understand their characters, those characters’ places in the world, and the journeys them embark on.

“Carajita” is a surprising film; one that keeps you on the edge of your seat as you unravel the complications, complexities, and power in female relationships amongst each other and with themselves.

“Carajita” is part of the Three Rivers Film Festival virtual program. Available in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, you can screen “Carajita” and other films virtually from 11 Nov 2022 through 16 Nov 2022. For tickets, visit: https://filmpittsburgh.org/three-rivers-film-festival/films

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