With two daughters, a busy household and a demanding part-time job as a seamstress, Costa Rican Isa (Daniela Valenciano) has it tough. When her husband starts joking about a third child during a birthday party – a son this time, please – she’s had enough.
Antonella Sudasassi’s intimate feature-film debut movingly portrays Isa’s silent emancipation. She starts rebelling against the conservative assumption that the only things women are good for is cleaning and making babies. Daniela Valenciano’s subtle acting makes the mental change tangible. During her scarce private moments, she also discovers that she is young, curious and sexually active. Time to take matters into her own hands, in other words, and to organize her life in such a way that she has space for herself. This is precisely what El despertar de las hormigas is about: the meticulous camerawork emphasizes how small the house is and how little space there is for Isa’s self-development.