Yarisa (Magnolia Núñez) has spent most of her working life serving a wealthy family and has become an integral part of their lives, especially for teenager Sara (Cecile van Welie), who treats her like a surrogate mother. . This has come at the cost of her relationship with her own daughter, Mallory (Adelanny Padilla).
The couple is almost estranged, but when her bosses move to her hometown, she sees it as a second chance. However, When tragedy strikes, Yari must face the truth.
The use of the local slang of ´carajita` roughly translates as brat, as a subtitle applied to the teenage Sara.
Although the cobwebs in Sara’s mind eventually clear as the details of the tragedy become clearer, Carajita takes a huge risk by staying within the fog in the first moments.
The feature film produced by the Dominicans Ulla Prida and Alexandra Guerrero, was directed by the Argentinian Silvina Schnicer and the Spaniard Ulises Porra.
The joke that prevails in the class comment by Silvina Schnicer and Ulises Porra is that Sara is incapable of doing anything by herself, but nobody realizes it because her mother covers her every moment.
This may sound like heavy social satire, but “Carajita” is anything but.
The directorial duo firmly resist to this kind of easy pointing, and adds depth and mystery to an otherwise monstrous teenager.
Above all, it is again successful with the accumulated effects of its functional soundtrack and its adequate setting; where other filmmakers might see themselves as storytellers, both evoke this girl’s narrow perspective in every minute detail.
The use of darkness and intensely colored light is a constant in Iván Gierasinchuk’s photography (additional camera work is the work of Latin American regular Sergio Armstrong, known for his work with Pablo Larraín and Lorenzo Vigas).
Production designer Claudia Madera also creates a setting of cool, clean luxury for the wealthy family, their modernist beach mansion a bulwark against the irrepressible realities of the outside world, which nonetheless invade in an eerily resonant finale.
“Carajita” can be read as a political parable, alluding not only to the denials of the past, but also to the current denial by the bourgeoisie of its protected privilege. However, these issues are never explicitly raised.
Porra and Schnicher are primarily interested in making us feel what it is like to inhabit the sealed world of her characters, a series of fishbowl spaces like the dining room where Sara’s family finally gathers behind glass doors and a beautiful view of the ocean.
This duo of Argentine directors makes a very good film. He has an excellent sense of camera use, framing each character in a way that separates or fragments them into a little universe.
Other people sharing the same space are often out of focus, emphasizing their distance and isolation.
The directors dole out the information in disorienting chunks, jumping from moment to moment without always providing connective tissue, leaving the viewer as shaken and confused as the protagonist.