Thursday, September 29, 2011

2011 MFF Film #14 - Anita

Argentina, 2009
Spanish with English subtitles
Director: Marcos Carnevale

Anita is a young woman with Down Syndrome in Buenos Aires who lives a protected life full of routine provided by her mother.  When her mother goes missing and Anita wanders from home, she immediately has to learn to survive on her own when she doesn't even know where she lives or what her last name is.

Directed by Marcos Carnevale, Anita is an examination of the human condition, testing society's charity, goodness and ability to adapt to their surroundings.  Anita is like a blank slate - in the beginning of the film she is essentially helpless, but each person and situation she encounters allow her to grow as a person, even though the film only takes place over the course of several days.  During this time, Anita shows people they have emotions and capabilities they didn't know they had. 

Alejandra Manzo, the actress who plays Anita deserves a mention for her performance because she is remarkable.  It is refreshing that an actress with Down Syndrome was used, rather than an actor just affecting the part with watered down results.  Manzo was real, charming and outstanding in her role.  Anita is a beautiful film that could have slipped into saccharine storytelling, condescension or even exploitation, but instead it is compassionate, thought-provoking, charming and funny.

MFF Ballot Rating: 4 out of 5

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