“LA CHICA NUEVA” BY MICAELA GONZALO

Article by Laura Anania

Translated by Gianluca Zogno

Micaela Gonzalo joins TFF39 with her first full-length film, which follows a young Argentinian girl called Jimena (Mora Arenillas) along her journey towards self-awareness and personal growth.

Her path is marked by the dualities between solitude and companionship, between individual and universal and between family and work. The protagonist must solve these issues in order to find her own place in the world.

Jimena is forced into a vagabond life due to her loneliness and her lack of money. In order to improve her condition she travels to Rìo Grande, in the south of Argentina, to meet her half-brother Mariano (Rafael Federman), who is quite possibly the only person she can count on in the world. She then finds a job in the same factory as Mariano. That’s where she meets Martina (Jimena Anganuzzi), with whom she forms a strong bond.

However, Jimena has to face Mariano’s individualistic tendencies. Her half-brother is extremely ambitious and he would resort to anything to gain any sort of advantage. Martina, on the other hand, is Mariano’s polar opposite. Her values include solidarity, selflessness and community. She introduces Jimena to their other colleagues and pushes her towards new friendships. In a way, she represents the love and serenity Jimena has never been able to experience.

Therefore, the protagonist is forced to go through the conflicts surrounding her to be able to grow, both as a woman and as a worker. The director expresses this duality visually by making use of different spaces. Interior scenes are characterized by a sense of oppression and menace, while outdoor scenes feature more playful and generally happier moments. The director’s use of hand-held cameras makes for an immersive film with a style approaching that of a documentary. In fact, Gonzalo defines it as “the staging of a documented reality”. Indeed, what happens in the factory mirrors our daily lives so much that the film acquires a sort of sociopolitical value.

The workplace becomes the stage of social unrest and existential crises, a place where individualism is defeated thanks to empathy. Most importantly, the factory becomes a reflection of Jimena’s desires, the place where she is able to find answers and define her place in the world.

This enables Jimena to tell the whole world she has become a chica nueva and that real strength resides in fighting together.

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