In the close-knit Jewish community of Mexico City, Ariela, a free-spirited painter, faces pressure to find a suitable husband as all her friends begin settling down and forming families of their own. Although she is content with her work and her independence, Ariela's life takes a turn when she falls for a man outside her faith. As their relationship blossoms, she struggles to navigate the tumultuous clash between her family's expectations and her own passions. A clear-eyed depiction of love, both romantic and familial, Leona elucidates the difficulty of reconciling contemporary life with long-held traditions. Naian Gonzàlez Norvind, winner of the award for Best Actress at last year's Morelia International Film Festival, is the core of Leona. Norvind gives a subtle, textured performance, highlighting the painter's soulful vulnerability coupled with her conflicting desire to please her family and pursue her own individuality. Told with a deft hand and illuminated by dappled sunlight, Isaac Cherem's debut feature film touches on a wide range of timely and universal themes, from intersectional feminism to the perennial cross-generational rift between religious and cultural values. More than simply a romantic drama about the mismatch of an interfaith couple, Leona offers a unique window into the realities of self-discovery and the growing pains of adulthood. -Hayleigh Thompson

Note: Contains Nudity

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