There’s a great scene in writer-director Anna Muylaert’s insightful new film The Second Mother, where the long estranged daughter (Jessica, played by Camila Márdila) of our title character (Val, played by Regina Casé) meets the family that her mother has been caring for as their live-in housekeeper. As the aspiring universiy student explains her plans for higher education, the responses from the lady of the house (Bárbara, played by Karine Teles) reveal a subtle air of condescension, expressing surprise that this lowly maid’s daughter is applying to the highly competitive local university in her chosen field of architecture. Towards the end of this friendly interchange, Jessica expresses her belief that architecture is an instrument for social change. In the moment, the statement seems innocuous – to the characters and audience alike – but the ensuing class conflict to come reveals why this carefully crafted portrait of modern day Brazil is such an ideal film to represent the South American nation for the upcoming Academy Awards.
Read more at The Awards Circuit