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Princesita

Marialy Rivas

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A young girl’s transition from childhood to adulthood becomes violent when she defies the cult leader forcing her to carry his "holy child," in this dark fairy tale from Chilean director Marialy Rivas (Young and Wild).

Twelve-year-old Tamara lives in a remote, rural region of southern Chile, in a seemingly idyllic setting, ensconced in nature and surrounded by like-minded people who care for one another. But her life is controlled by Miguel — teacher, protector, and leader of the cult to which she belongs. When Tamara begins studying at the local school, she starts to question Miguel's teachings and the plans that he has for her future.

Miguel believes he needs a virgin to impregnate and carry his son — destined to be their saviour — and he's chosen Tamara for this "sacred" role. Awaiting her first menstrual period with trepidation, Tamara also begins to feel attracted to one of her new classmates. Confused by her feelings, she decides to take matters into her own hands, leading to an act of defiance with horrifying consequences.

Shot with delicacy and precision, Marialy Rivas' unsettling second feature delves into the obfuscating world of religious cults, an environment all the more daunting for a child coming of age. Rivas lets us hear Tamara's whispering inner voice, a marked contrast to the stoic, placid persona she presents to the outside world. As the gravity of Tamara's plight becomes increasingly apparent, Rivas' camera abandons fairy-tale imagery for creepy eeriness.

Boldly disturbing, Princesita presents the predicament of a child on the verge of womanhood awakening to the horror that her paradise is in fact an inferno.

DIANA SANCHEZ

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