Nobody’s Wife

Director: Maria Luisa Bemberg
Screenwriters: Maria Luisa Bemberg

Institute History

  • 1988 Sundance Film Festival


Cinema in Argentina is an astonishingly masculine world, one where only Bemberg has been able to break through to date with narrative features. While best known outside her country for the lush period of evocations that have become her trademark, Bemberg actually started out dealing with contemporary life (at least, insofar as that was possible, under the censorship structures of dictatorship).

Senora de Nadie ought to rank as the Argentine An Unmarried Woman, and yet it goes much further than this Hollywood corollary would suggest. Quite by accident, Leonor discovers her husband’s infidelity and is shocked into leaving her family to search out her own identity. she finds a job and a series of unsatisfactory living arrangements, along the way encountering men on the make who do little to redeem the reputation of their gender. Finally, in her therapy group, she encounters a gay man who soon becomes her fast friend and eventual roommate. The film traces thee quest for identity, happiness, and self-awareness with an insight of sensitivity especially outstanding for its period. The film is clever without any cheap shots, warm-hearted without dissolving into sentimentality. In a period when politics as such could not appear on the screen, Bemberg manages a deeply political critique of gender roles and their implications in an authoritarian society.

Senora de Nadie was Bemberg’s second film and the last to be make under military rule. Apart from its importance to her own oeuvre, the film stands as a timely rebuke to the many Argentine films that seem unable to create believable women characters.

— Tony Safford

Screening Details

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