The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta? in Portuguese), a film by Anna Muylaert, continues its award streak that started at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie tells the story of Val, who migrated 13 years prior from the Northeast of Brazil to the big city Sao Paulo to work as a live-in housekeeper with nanny duties to a wealthy family.
She left her daughter Jessica with her father in their home state of Pernambuco and hasn’t spoken to her in over 10 years. She is surprised to receive a call from her saying she is going to Sao Paulo to apply for her university entrance exams and wishes to stay with Val.
This is Anna Muylaert’s fourth theatrical feature film but The Second Mother has been in the works for 21 years. She wanted to talk about the relationship between an employer and his/her maid, which is so common in the Brazilian middle class family. The project matured over the years until the story of the film found its final shape.
The movie world premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in January to rave reviews and left with the Special Jury Award for Acting in the World Cinema category, which Regina Casé and Camila Márdila, who played Val and Jessica respectively, shared. Ocsilloscope Laboratories acquired U.S. rights for the film, which was produced by the Brazilian companies Africa Filmes and Gullane Filmes.
It was also an official selection to the Berlin Film Festival which just wrapped on February 15th. The film continued to receive critical and audience acclaim and won the International Confederation of Art House Cinemas Jury
Panorama Prize and the Panorama Audience Award for Fiction Film. In the 2014 festival another Brazilian film The Way He Looks (Hoje eu Quero Voltar Sozinho) won 2nd place in the Panorama Audience Award and went on to be Brazil’s nomination to run for a spot at the Best Foreign Film category at the 2015 Oscars.