Anita

| 104 mins | ,

Ana Feldman, nicknamed Anita, is a young Jewish Argentine woman with Down syndrome living with her devoted mother, Dora, in modest comfort above the shop Dora’s late husband started in a commercial district of Buenos Aires. Beloved older brother Ariel is making his own way in business, his young wife by his side. Into this intimate, sweetly sedate domestic world—where for Anita the biggest imaginable disaster is a delayed trip to the zoo with Ariel—the world outside intrudes with unexpected fury. When Dora does not show up at a prearranged time, Anita gets lost in the city while searching for her, receiving help and companionship in unexpected quarters through the simple force of her ingenuous personality and open heart. On her meanderings, she learns not only to care for herself, but touches the lives of those around her, from an alcoholic man to a family of Asian immigrants.

Writer-director Marcos Carnevale draws us in masterfully from the outset with his admirably controlled, mature cinematic style and the superb performances he gets from an expert cast—though first among them is the novice, and completely captivating, Alejandra Manzo in the title role. Wrenching, lovely, suffused with life, Anita is a profoundly hopeful study of human innocence, compassion and resilience in a fragile, troubled world.