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THE HEIRESSES (Las herederas)
Marcelo Martinessi

On the pretext of moving into a smaller home, or of taking a long trip, here in Asunción (and I suppose in most of the rest of Latin America as well), we organize garage sales. Someone puts a price on their furniture, glassware and linens and exhibits (exposes?) them to the outside world. I have been to many such sales and I’ve always been fascinated by the interactions between the buyers and sellers, predominantly women, in which there are many elements at play: social class, current economic situation and, above all, ancestry. In these interactions, there is often a (veiled) decadence that these women work hard to hide.

Perhaps due to the strong impression that these sales made on me, one of the first scenes I wrote for Las herederas (The Heiresses) was the duel between Chela and a pair of buyers who have invaded the old mansion – until then, an overly private space – and paw her family heirlooms as if they were at a flea market. My favorite line of dialogue in the entire film is, “The plants aren’t for sale. If you want one, I can give it to you.” I must have heard it at one of these garage sales. And it is a perfect summary, in just fifteen words, of thousands of experiences of decadence, economic crisis and social class that I’ve witnessed in Asunción since I was a child.

Even though a script is, in most cases, written by one or two people, the ideas, dialogues and images that we write often arise from places as different as a prison and a garage sale and are then filtered through a collective process. In the gap between the page and the screen, the “pawing” of actors, technicians and producers, at least in the case of this script, has done a great deal of good.

-Marcelo Martinessi

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