María Silvia Esteve

2018 Argentina Chile DOC 103 '

Silvia looks dazzling in the old VHS footage of her wedding in the early 1980s—she’s a beautiful woman about to embark on a promising future with a diplomat husband, and a comfortable house to live in. The home videos that follow show more highlights from her life: her first wedding anniversary, her daughters growing up, and the farewell party at the embassy. Meanwhile, the audio commentary offers a very different reality. The film’s director María Silvia Esteve is the middle one of Silvia’s daughters, and she and her siblings talk about their parents’ gradual descent into a spiral of angry clashes, psychological problems and prescription drugs. By recounting events from their childhood, they try to get a handle on what went wrong in their family. And they wonder why their mother, with whom they had a very close relationship, never managed to improve the situation or leave their father. Esteve uses VHS footage in an original way, combining it with cut-up quotes, excerpts from her mother’s favorite film, and classical music to construct a poetic family chronicle about memory, powerlessness and keeping up appearances.


María Silvia Esteve is an argentine filmmaker, born in Guatemala, who studied and taught film at the University of Buenos Aires. Her debut feature film Silvia was selected for BAL, DocMontevideo Rough Cut Lab, was given the Postproduction Coral Award at Habana Film Festival, and won as Best Project in Labs such as DocLisboa Arché. The film had its World Premiere at IDFA’s First Appearance Competition, won the Artistic Vision Award at Docaviv's Depth of Field Competition, and was at numerous film festivals. Selected for the The Biennale of Young Art in Buenos Aires, the director participated of IDFAcademy, and of this year’s IDFA Summer School, with her new project in development called Mailin.