Argentina, Italy (2022, dir. Florencia Wehbe) – 89 mins
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In this sensitively told drama, a teenager’s battle with body image is a microcosm for the crushing weight of beauty standards on all young women.

Amid the tempestuous period of adolescence, 14-year-old Paula is struggling. Surrounded by the unrealistic yet all-consuming pressures of society’s beauty ideals, plus her mother’s insistence on throwing her a birthday party and her older (and thinner) sister’s lack of empathy, she falls into a downward spiral of starvation and purging to lose weight. Paula finds solace in the online community, with whom she engages in harmful fat-reduction methods – even when doing so means sacrificing her real-world friendships.

Produced after a work-in-progress was recognised at Tallinn Black Nights in 2021, director Florencia Wehbe’s second feature earned her the FEISAL Award for Best Under 35 Latin American Director at last year’s Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema. Partly inspired by her own brushes with disordered eating, Wehbe and co-writer Daniela De Francesco have penned a screenplay – convincingly incarnated by lead Lucía Castro – that perceptively deals with the anguish and vulnerability of being a young woman in a world obsessed with appearances.

“With remarkable sensitivity and an uncommon naturalism … [Wehbe] avoids saccharine drama to construct a social portrait that is accurate and free of demagogy, and at times joyful and luminous.” – EscribiendoCine

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Language: Spanish
Genre: Drama
Classroom discussion points: Body image, family dynamics, bullying, peer pressure
Age suitability advice: Infrequent coarse language, mild violence, depiction of alcohol consumption by minors
MIFF recommends this film as suitable for ages 12+