The Pretty Ones
Melisa Liebenthal, 2016, Arg, 77 min, OmeU


The director has five childhood friends whom she interviews from behind the camera. Looking at photos from school dances and costume sessions, they talk about their experiences of childhood and adolescence, delving into the different implications of belonging to the female gender throughout their lives. These stories, told in privacy and directly to the camera, are contrasted with the experience of the director, (re)constructed from photos from the family album and home videos together with a voice-over narration. This interrelationship of experiences works as a field to think, with humor and candor, about the construction of the genres and to try to denaturalize their mandates and prohibitions, especially those linked to the image.

Why do I have to smile? Why do I have to look pretty in the photos? Why am I being confused with a man? Why does the other’s gaze matter to me so much?

Letter of intention from The Pretty Ones’ Director

The idea for this project came from looking at pictures from my childhood and adolescence. In the evolution of my image through the years, I found a character of myself in which the passage, or cut, between childhood and puberty was very clear: from a child’s smile to a teenager’s face, who was very uncomfortable in her skin. Behind that expression of discontent, and ultimately pain, was a story of insecurities that for me connects with the heavy burden of femininity or “womanhood”, built from external images and fictions that I was supposed to identify with but that would always make me feel ultimately completely alienated.

Cast & Crew

Argentina, 2016
77 min.
Director: Melisa Libenthal
Script: Melisa Libenthal
Cinematography: Lucas Perez Sosto
Editing: Sofía Mele & Melisa Liebenthal
Cast: Camila Magliano, Michelle Sterzovsky, Josefina Roveta, Sofía Mele, Victoria D’Amuri
Production: Eugenia Campos Guevara, Gentil Cine

Festivals & Awards

International Film Festival Rotterdam 2016 / BRIGHT FUTURE AWARD
Asterisco Festival Internacional de Cine LGBTIQ 2016 / MEJOR PELÍCULA
Filmadrid 2016 / Competencia Oficial
Edinburgh 2016 / Competencia Documental
Festival Internacional de Cine de Medellín 2016
Seattle International Film Festival 2016 / Competencia Iberoamericana Festival Internacional de Cine de Mar del Plata / Panorama Argentino Torino International Film Festival / Competencia Oficial
FIDOCS / Panorama
Festival Internacional de Cine de Cali / Panorama
Queer Lisboa / Competencia Queer Art
Festival Internacional de Cine de Lima / Competencia Oficial


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