Mailin

María Silvia Esteve (director) & Laura Mara Tablón (producer)

Argentina

Logline

Mailin tells her daughter a bedtime story, a metaphor that unfolds the protagonist’s search to recover the memory of her past. Through a collage of family recordings, pictures, and animated childhood drawings emerges the story of a small girl who, for 15 years, suffered the abuses of a school priest; a man who has just been exonerated by the law.

Project Description

Mailin has lost the trial, and the priest that abused her for 15 years, is set free. Justice decided to consider his crimes to be prescribed. Her world is crumbling. Yet in spite of the wreckage, she goes back home, and so that her daughter Ona can fall asleep, she tells her a bedtime story. It is the tale of a girl who has lost her smile in the hands of a hatter, and her home due to a hurricane born from the untrollable sadness of her mother. A surreal journey thus begins, that in its juggling with reality, reveals to be a metaphor of Mailin's childhood.

And so, the protagonist assumes the quest of recovering the memory of her past, by going through the family recordings she has found in her mother's attic. Just like these cassettes are full of glitches and ghostly images that break and freeze, so is her memory, shattered by trauma. By revisiting her childhood recordings, Mailin searches for her mother Monica. She repeats over and over scenes where she is present in the room, as the priest of her school is taking outside an 8 year old Mailin by the hand. She wonders how could she not see the horrors her daughter was going through?

Creating a great collage, the film interweaves with the bedtime story, Mailin's present, the trial that unfolds, and her search to understand her own mother. By scrutinizing the material, Mailin comes to realize the sadness in Monica's eyes. The protagonist then admits that she, as well, is going through depression, and that here lies her biggest fear: If her memory tricked so terribly that it could erase an entire portion of her life, might it eventually erase her daughter too? May she not see if Ona one day suffers the same family fate?

Between cut-out animations, VHS material, photographs, and cell phone recordings, Mailin struggles to understand Monica, while Monica fails to see Mailin. A mother and a daughter try to reach one another, yet neither of them finds the way. How can so many years of unspoken words be spoken? How to heal a family so deeply wounded? The ending of the bedtime story arrives, to show that it has no ending. Yet her daughter takes the book out of Mailin's hands, and affirms that she already knows how it ends. Mailin then asks her if she could tell her the ending of the story. While holding the book in her hands, Ona so begins her own narration of the metaphor of her mother's life.

María Silvia Esteve

María Silvia Esteve is an Argentine filmmaker, born in Guatemala, who spent a great part of her childhood in Chile. She has studied and taught Audiovisual Arts at the University of Buenos Aires, worked for many years in television, and has made short films selected and awarded in international film festivals, was awarded by the Spanish Association of Authors of Cinematographic Photography AEC, before debuting her career with her documentary feature film named Silvia. It received the Postproduction Coral Award at Habana Film Festival, and won as Best Project in various Labs, such as DocLisboa Arché. Silvia had its World Premiere at IDFA, at the First Appearance Competition. The film was at numerous festivals, won the Artistic Vision Award at Docaviv, and was a multi award winner at the Buenos Aires International Documentary Festival. It also got a distinction for the Film Editing by the Argentine Association of Film Editors. Selected for The Biennale of Young Art Buenos Aires, the director participated in IDFAcademy, GenderLab MICGénero, and was part of IDFAcademy Summer School, with her new project in development, Mailin, which won the French Fund PROCIREP, and the Metropolitan Fund of Arts.

Laura Mara Tablón

Laura Mara Tablón, Argentina, 12/03/79. She was born in Buenos Aires, but raised in the coastal city of Mar del Plata. Producer and Film Director. She produced over 16 films already released, that participated in international film festivals. In 2015, she founded Rita Cine, audiovisual company focused in auteur movies. In 2018, she directed and produced the documentary La excusa del Sueño Americano (The excuse of the American Dream), coproduced by Kristina Konrad and Weltfilm (Germany). In 2017 and 2018 she won the Opera Prima and INCAA Contest with 4 projects from different directors. In 2019 she was appointed Jury of the Opera Prima INCAA Contest. In 2020 she premiered the film Mamá, mama, mama (Mum, mum, mum), from director Sol Berruezo Pichon-Rivière, in Berlinale and won the Special Mention of the Jury from Generation K Plus Competition. Also in 2020, her projects participated in prestigious film festivals (San Sebastian, La Habana, Mar del Plata, among others). Another film she produced, Piedra Noche (Dusk Stone), from director Iván Fund, won the WIP Industry Award in the San Sebastian Film Festival 2020. She has been selected by Biennale Cinema College 2020/2021 with her project Nuestros días más felices (Our happiest days), second film to be directed by Sol Berruezo Pichon-Rivière. She actively participates in APIMA (film producers association). In 2021, she has been selected as Jury of INCAA Fund for fiction projects in development stage.

Project Index


Abo Zabaal Prison 1989

Aeolus

Airborne

Baby Jackfruit

Baby Guava

Children of the Mist

Concrete Land

The Fabulous Gold Harvesting Machine

Inquiry

Just Another Year

Love Song. Pastorale

Loving Martha

Mailin

The Mother of All Lies

Oh Father I don't Want to Hate You

The Soil and the Wings

The Two Mountains Weighing Down

My Chest