• Berlinale - Berlin Film Festival

    Best Actress, Alfred Bauer award
  • Asunción Lesbigaytrans Int'l Film Festival

    Golden Shell Award
  • Jeonju Int'l Film Festival

    Grand Prize
  • Puerto Rico Queer Filmfest

    Jury Prize
  • San Sebastian Int'l Film Festival

  • Cartagena Int'l Film Festival

    Best Director
Spanish Film Club
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Related Subjects

Spanish, Guarani, with English subtitles

With Margarita Irun, Ana Ivanoca, Ana Brun

Chela and Chiquita are both descended from wealthy families in Asunción and have been together for over 30 years. But recently, their financial situation has worsened and they begin selling off their inherited possessions. But when their debts lead to Chiquita being imprisoned on fraud charges, Chela is forced to face a new reality.

Driving for the first time in years, she begins to provide a local taxi service to a group of elderly wealthy ladies. As Chela settles into her new life, she encounters the much younger Angy, forging a fresh and invigorating new connection. Chela finally begins to break out of her shell and engage with the world, embarking on her own personal, intimate revolution.


“A finely-crafted, beautifully realized debut that exquisitely balances character study with shrewd commentary on class, desire, and the lingering privileges of Paraguay’s elite.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety

“Paraguay’s Oscar entry The Heiresses chronicles the Unraveling of a 30-Year Lesbian Relationship. It is a quietly powerful look at aging queer relationships. Few movies follow women of Chela and Chiquita's age.” – Monica Castillo, Remezcla

About the Director
Marcelo Martinessi studied communication before going to the London Film School. His work revolves around memory, identity, and human rights in his home country. He has also researched on the relationship between cinema and literature, adapting short stories. Karai Norte (2009) is a black-and-white record of an oral narration collected during the 1947 Paraguayan civil war and El Baldío (2013) evokes the hundreds of disappearances throughout the long Paraguayan dictatorship.

Martinessi has developed cinema workshops for children living on the streets of Asunción creating with them Calle Ultima (2011). His work has been shown at the Berlinale, Clermont Ferrand, Locarno, and many other festivals, winning several international awards.

Notes on Film

“It seems to me that what cinema does is to help people think, and that can generate a change. There is a short film of mine about the Civil War of 1947, I also did a work with street children in which they did the script with me, it was a very joint work, so the short films for me were very militant.

The Heiresses is not a militant film, it’s a film that comes out a little more of that social commitment, but even so, in Paraguay a scandal was mounted over sexuality, and I thought: “I don’t understand how these people don’t see that the film is about many other things.” I think what bothered many people the most is that it was the first film from Paraguay to be in the Berlin competition, that it had two Silver Bears and how can it show the worst of Paraguay: a relationship between two women… Actually, and I am absolutely honest with you, I didn’t even think about that when I was making the film.”

– Marcelo Martinessi, Director