CLARA SOLA – Review by Leslie Combemale

It seems writer/director Nathalie Álvarez Mesén and her co-screenwriter Maria Camila Arias aim to articulate the challenge of women living in a society that prioritizes god above man, man above woman, and mankind above nature, all through Clara. They were lucky to find Wendy Chinchillla Araya to collaborate in that articulation. It is a lot of responsibility to put on someone for their first acting role, yet she brings an elemental ferocity and tenderness to the character. Chinchillla Araya shows us Clara’s internal dance, in her fearful interactions with humans and her fearless interactions with animals. Her connection to the elements is always in evidence. She is not just of nature, but is nature. In that way, both the character and the film as a whole are a powerful expression of the divine feminine.

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Nathalie Álvarez Mesén chats CLARA SOLA and Mystical Filmmaking – Jennifer Merin interviews

With her first feature, Nathalie Álvarez Mesén steps into the limelight of the international cinema realm. Clara Sola premiered in the Director’s Fortnight at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, and the film is Costa Rica’s official submission to the Oscars. Álvarez Mesén is a Costa Rican-Swedish screenwriter/director with an M.F.A. from Columbia University’s Film Program. Her international upbringing and education are reflected in her unique filmmaker’s perspective that reveals itself in Clara Sola‘s feminist theme and mystical story about an upcountry woman whose divine healing powers are channeled through her intimate relationship with nature and animals.

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