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CANNES 2021 Critics’ Week

Review: Libertad

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- CANNES 2021: Clara Roquet imbues every little detail in her feature debut with meaning, as she delves into the complexities of attaining freedom from the point of view of a teenage girl

Review: Libertad
María Morera and Nicolle García in Libertad

A new addition to works such as Pilar Palomero’s Schoolgirls [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Pilar Palomero
film profile
]
, Neus Ballús’ Staff Only [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Neus Ballús
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]
, and Ojos Negros [+see also:
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interview: Marta Lallana, Ivet Castelo
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]
by duo Marta Lallana and Ivet Castelo, among others, is Libertad [+see also:
trailer
interview: Clara Roquet
film profile
]
, a film that, while also placing the camera at the same height as the eyes of its young protagonists, analyses how the events that people live through in their adolescence gradually mould the character of these adults in the making. The eagerly awaited feature debut by acclaimed screenwriter Clara Roquet, who has signed her name to the scripts of features such as The Days to Come [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carlos Marques-Marcet
film profile
]
by Carlos Marqués-Marcet, Petra [+see also:
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interview: Jaime Rosales
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]
by Jaime Rosales and The Offering [+see also:
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by Ventura Durall, has been world-premiered in the Critics’ Week of the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival.

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Roquet had already made the leap to directing with a couple of forays into television and two short films, Les bones nenes and El adiós. The latter’s plot is strongly connected to that of Libertad, as in both works, a female immigrant is caring for an elderly person (a rich Spaniard). In this particular movie, Colombian woman Rosana (Carol Hurtado) will serve as the link between two social classes that are far removed from each other, but in addition, she bears the burden of a personal conflict, as the title of the film coincides with the symbolic first name of her 15-year-old daughter (Nicolle García). They have not seen each other since the time when the teen was just a little girl, and her mother was compelled to emigrate to Spain.

But the recent arrival and her explosion of spontaneity, rebelliousness, temperament and bare-faced cheek will shatter the peace and tranquillity of the family that hired Rosana, made up of three generations: grandmother Ángela – who is little by little losing her memory (played by Vicky Peña) – her daughter Teresa (who, in middle age, is grappling with the challenge of reinventing herself emotionally, played by Nora Navas) and Nora (María Morera), the granddaughter who, over the course of a decisive summer, will discover a world beyond the gilded cage that surrounds and overprotects her.

Freedom, as Roquet asserts, will thus be what bursts that bubble surrounding Nora and will fling her into an outside world far from the (deceptively) perfect nest built by her well-to-do family. The filmmaker, who knows only too well what she portrays here (she herself comes from a similar domestic background to the one that appears in the movie), demonstrates that she is an excellent screenwriter who knows how to make the most of tiny (apparently insignificant) details, silence and, above all, glances (especially the extremely telling ones of the lead actress, the very young Morera, who could easily be the younger sister of Elena Martín, the director of Júlia ist [+see also:
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interview: Elena Martín
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]
) in order to convey bewilderment, the loss of innocence and the rebellion of a girl who, during this crucial summer, will turn her life around.

Libertad is a film staged by Spanish companies Lastor Media and Avalon PC, in co-production with Belgium’s Bulletproof Cupid. Its Spanish distribution is being handled by Avalon, which will release it in autumn 2021. It is distributed in France by Epicentre Films, while its international sales have been entrusted to Paris-based sales agent Playtime.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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