• Rotterdam Int'l Film Festival

  • Málaga Int'l Film Festival

  • Fine Arts Internatuional Film festival

    Best lead and supporting actresses
  • Uruguay Int'l Film Festival

  • Huelva Film Festival

  • San Francisco Latino Film Festival

Spanish Film Club
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Spanish with English subtitles

With Cecilia García, Aleska Vásquez, Xiomara Fortuna

Why you must see this film. Because it is the jewel of the New Wave of Dominican Cinema. Unlike films such as Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’ and Sebastiān Silva’s ‘La Nana’ (‘The Maid’), it presents inverts the ‘maid as a second mother’ narrative to explore issues of class and race in an innovative way. And because it is a beautiful story with compelling characters that will make you believe in humanity again and will stay with you for days and months!

Set in an upper-class neighborhood of the Dominican Republic, Babygirl is an unsettling portrait of a middle-aged woman, Dominique, and her relations with family, servants, and entourage.

From the very first scene, the film manages to astutely depict her privilege and buried longings. As a woman whose identity is deeply attached to her role, Dominique finds herself alone after the departure of her children. One day, the maid brings home her granddaughter and, shortly after, inexplicably disappears. The little girl re-awakens Dominique’s maternal instinct – but neither her relatives nor her friends seem to think it a good decision to keep her.

With neat precision and calculated detachment, Babygirl paints a society of strong racial and class differences. Appearances and disappearances are shrouded in mystery; hints at corporate corruption are left unresolved; and nods to Lucrecia Martel’s The Headless Woman (2008) can be felt.

Press

“A sophisticated and subtle study of class and race tensions in the Dominican Republic. In the film, Guzmán avoids the temptation to indict her characters. Instead, she constructs a narrative that strongly favors ambiguity, showing just how interconnected are the worlds of rich and poor, black and white.” – ENA ALVARADO, Americas Quaterly

“An unostentatious, subtle film, with much going on below the surface. Amidst social gatherings, video calls with the absent sons and moments of lonely idleness, Dominique’s deep unfulfillment pervades the film, while the threat of catastrophe looms in the background.” – Cristina Álvarez López, IFFR Film Festival

About the Director
Laura Amelia Guzmán is a Dominican filmmaker. She has co-created 7 features during the last 17 years alongside her husband, Mexican filmmaker Israel Cárdenas, jointly producing, writing, and directing documentaries and fiction that present a careful look at the social contexts that surround them. Their work has been presented at festivals such as Berlinale, Toronto, Venice, and Rotterdam, among others. Babygirl (2023) is her first feature as sole director.
Notes on Film

“It’s the first time I signed as a solo director because my husband and I have always worked together. In this case, it’s a first attempt to look towards something more personal, a universe more mine. They are such personal things that are not easy to write, but they are easy to talk about between couples, very intimate things. He would encourage me to write or he would write a first line that would motivate me to write a second one. We have been doing this together for about twenty years and I love it.

That universe is my universe. Since I was a child I have been an empathetic person with all worlds and I have been able to navigate through different groups. I’ve kind of had that ability. I think I have managed with Babygirl to be fair to both universes that, although very different, converge. I think that in each of these characters, there is a human being who understood his role in the film, they helped humanize the characters. The actors in real life had similar roles and have been able to enrich their characters a lot. The biggest difficulty was editing because there were scenes and moments so good and genuine that it was difficult to do without them.

I feel that as filmmakers we have a responsibility to share, to make a portrait for our society where these things happen daily. When you put it on a screen, I think people become aware.”

– Laura Amelia Guzmán, Director