Habi, the Foreigner
Habi, la extranjera
Habi_the_Foreigner_bc.jpg
Film Info
Section:New Directors
Premiere Status:Argentina
Brazil
Year of Prod:2013
Running Time:92
Original Language:Spanish
Awards:New Directors Prize Contender
Credits
dir:María Florencia Álvarez
prod:Lita Stantic
Hugo Sigman
Walter Salles
scr:María Florencia Álvarez
cam:Julián Apezteguía
editor:Eliane D. Katz
mus:Santiago Pedroncini
cast:Martina Juncadella
Martin Slipak
Lucía Alfonsín
Maria Luisa Mendonça
source:the Foreigner
MPM Film (Movie Partners in Motion)
17 rue Julien Lacroix
75020 Paris
FRANCE
marie@mpmfilm.com
Description
After stumbling by chance into a Muslim prayer service while on a routine daytrip to Buenos Aires, shy young Amalia spontaneously decides to remain in the capital and immerse herself in this community. She takes a room in the neighborhood, enrolls in a Farsi class, wraps her head in a scarf and adopts the identity of Habi, a Lebanese orphan. Working at a Lebanese grocery, she attracts the attention of the owners’ son, though their relationship is soon complicated by her subterfuge. María Florencia Álvarez’s ruminative debut captures the complicated mix of excitement and fear that comes with the first steps into adulthood, while avoiding easy moral judgments or simple psychological explanations for Amalia’s complex behavior. An outsider in her own country, Amalia appears more at ease in an unfamiliar culture that serves to disguise the discomfort she feels in her own skin. Martina Juncandella delivers an impressive performance in the lead role of Amalia, and Álvarez casts a spell with a subdued, observational tone that is well-suited to her interest in examining how culture informs and constructs our identity. Habi, the Foreigner is a striking first feature about the growing pains that come with self-discovery.
-Jesse Dubus
Additional Information

María Florencia Álvarez

Born in 1977 in Buenos Aires, where she also lives today, María Florencia Álvarez’s first short, the 2003 Upon the Earth, screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and went on to win 14 awards. Black Dog, from 2005, was an honorable mention at her hometown B.A.F.I.C.I., and the 2010 short Girl won “Best Actress” and “Best Short Film” at the Belo Horizonte International Film Festival. Habi, the Foreigner is her debut feature film.

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