Paula Review

First-time director Eugenio Canevari makes his entry to the festival scene with Paula, an hour-long meditation on the social and economic inequalities in his country. Set in Argentina’s agricultural heartland, the film makes its point subtly and succinctly.

Paula (Dennise Labbate) is the nanny of a middle-class family. The father runs a farm, which is having trouble with its soya crops. Paula herself is in trouble. She is pregnant – we never learn the father’s identity – and no one is willing to really help. Labbate pitches Paula like a grown up child – uneasy with herself, struggling to ask confidently for what she needs – yet also resourceful and resilient.

Yet and again she comes up against societal barriers. It is seen as unacceptable for her to be pregnant; Abortions cost money that she doesn’t have; her friend (possibly her lover) Berna is indifferent, seemingly blaming her for the situation. She isn’t comfortable talking to her employers: one is disdainful, the other guilty of sexual harassment. Only the children she cares for treat her well, and with complete innocence.

Everything is shot carefully and unconventionally – Canevari focuses on body parts rather than faces, and moves his camera very little, letting his actors instead be constrained by his frame. The cinematography is solid – narrow and textured close-ups are shuffled with wide fields, forests, and beautiful skies. Nearly everything is shot outdoors.

The director is apt at showing the irony of his main character’s situation – her struggles are overlaid with her employers complaining about their progeny. They enjoy having children – seemingly as a status symbol, but not having them around. The final scene, a twenty-minute party sequence, is a succinct snapshot of where Canevari takes issue with the Argentine middle class. It’s ruthless and feels very real.


A to-the-point takedown of social inequality.


out of 10

We need your help

Running a website like The Digital Fix - especially one with over 20 years of content and an active community - costs lots of money and we need your help. As advertising income for independent sites continues to contract we are looking at other ways of supporting the site hosting and paying for content.

You can help us by using the links on The Digital Fix to buy your films, games and music and we ask that you try to avoid blocking our ads if you can. You can also help directly for just a few pennies per day via our Patreon - and you can even pay to have ads removed from the site entirely.

Click here to find out more about our Patreon and how you can help us.

Did you enjoy the article above? If so please help us by sharing it to your social networks with the buttons below...

Latest Articles