In some ways, Clara (Wendy Chinchilla Araya) is the most liberated woman in the verdant, remote, and deceptively matriarchal Costa Rican village where she works for God. A semi-feral 40-year-old who legend has it was once visited by the Virgin Mary, Clara has been moulded into a faith healer by her ultra-religious mother (Flor María Vargas Chaves as Fresia), who’s successfully rebranded her daughter’s curved spine and childlike intellect as symptoms of divinity.
Aside from miracles on demand, little is expected of her. Clara is free to spend her days wandering through the forest, brushing her beloved white horse Yuca, and making adorable homes for the beetles she finds in the wild. She is activated whenever someone with a few dollars to spare needs a leg healed or a cancer cured, but for the most part Clara is left to do as she pleases.
That is, as long as it doesn’t displease her mother. Fresia keeps her only surviving daughter on a tight leash, especially now that Clara’s sister - the jewel of her family - has ascended to heaven, leaving behind a bright-eyed daughter of her own. But her severe mother tries to stifle the late awakening of her feminine instincts. The special being who is Clara will look for ways to free herself from these constraints.
This is a film about women, written and directed by women, made and acted mostly by women. 'Clara Sola' is a remarkable debut film, which manages to create an impressive and memorable female character, and Nathalie Alvarez Mesen is a director who deserves to be watched.