Marcela Said Cares was born in 1972 in Santiago, Chile. She graduated from the Catholic University of Santiago with a degree in aesthetics, and received her master’s degree in Media & Language at La Sorbonne University.
In 2013, her first feature-film The summer of flying fish, produced and distributed by Cinéma Defacto, was presented at the Director’s Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival. It was then invited to New Horizons, Toronto, Sao Paulo, and won several award, in La Habana, River Run, Biarritz and Toulouse. It was released in April 2014 in France and in July 2014 in Chile.
40-year-old Mariana is a sensitive woman, from an upper-class family behind whose immaculate façade shadows and secrets are lurking. Her father, Francisco, has raised her with love and affection but also with an iron fist. His influence over her life is immense.
Pedro, Mariana’s husband, is an architect and a workaholic who is unable to make his wife happy. Their sex life has withered, Pedro focuses more on his career than on the relationship. Because of their friends’ expectations, he pushes Mariana to go for an in vitro fertilisation - their childlessness is beginning to tarnish their image. Mariana agrees to go through with it, although she has no real desire to be a mother.
Mariana has an unconventional attitude towards life, and her social circles react to her personality with forced friendliness and polite smiles. Mariana’s charm lies in her fragility. She senses that she is being isolated. Only her dog Neptuno provides consolation and gives her unreserved attention.
At a birthday party at a riding club, she meets the charismatic 70-year-old Juan, an ex-colonel and riding instructor. They hit it off straight away: With his sense of humour, the courteous man is able to revive her zest for life. He invites Mariana to take riding classes with him.
Under his instruction she begins to learn how to ride a horse. She familiarises herself with the reins and the whip, and becomes more confident as she learns to control the animal, and her fears along with it. Her lessons become more intense – not only with regards to the riding but with Juan as well. Sometimes the two of them chat after the lesson, or go for a ride in the mountains. From up there, the view over Santiago is breathtaking and the serene surroundings are a fertile ground for intimacy and confessions.
Unafraid of people’s opinions, Mariana invites Juan to the sophisticated events which her life is made up of. At one of these evenings the two worlds collide: Mariana discovers that her father and Juan have known each other for a long time but that neither of them want to talk about the details.
At the riding club, Mariana also encounters Javier, a policeman. He is waiting for the colonel to ask him some questions. Mariana learns that Juan was involved in various human rights abuses during the dictatorship. The case is already in court.
Everyone around her agrees: She has to stop with her riding lessons. The blood on the colonel’s hands could compromise the reputation of the family. Furthermore, Pedro and Francisco are afraid that the riding may keep her from becoming pregnant. They also dislike the confidence and independence that Mariana has developed.
For the first time she decides to be disobedient and continues to go to her riding lessons – despite the accusations Juan is facing. She stands by the colonel’s side, even though he is judged harshly by the public.
Mariana wants to know the truth, and begins to ask the colonel questions. He, however, becomes elusive on the topic and is unwilling to take responsibility. Mariana therefore turns to Javier – hoping to obtain the names of Juan’s former superiors.
Javier. Pedro. Francisco. The more she is rebelling against these men, the wider the cracks in the invisible wall they have put up around her become. She only finds relaxation in the arms of the colonel. And through his presence she also finds the courage to face her tortured self and to tear away the veil which has been hiding the hypocrisy of her family and their role in the story.
Creative Europe MEDIA
Arte International Prize
Sundance Lab Grant
World Cinema Fund