The Heiresses (1980)
Director: Márta Mészáros Run Time: 105 min. Rating: NR Release Year: 1980
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Jan Nowicki, Lili Monori, Sándor Szabó, Zita Perczel
Presented at the Film Center as part of The Films of Márta Mészáros, a highlighted retrospective of the feminist screenwriter and director’s filmography, newly restored and on the big screen, from June 10—15, 2022.
About the film:
The brilliance of a young Isabelle Huppert lends quiet intensity to this piercing period elegy. Budapest, 1936: Szilvia (Lili Monori), a wealthy heiress to an enormous family fortune, befriends Irén (Huppert), a young shopgirl of modest means. Unable to give birth, Szilvia offers Irén money in exchange for conceiving a child with her husband (Jan Nowicki) on her behalf—a transaction that blurs the boundaries of the two women’s social roles and leads all involved into an explosive moral, emotional, and romantic minefield.
Set amidst the glimmering decadence of a pre-war Europe being consumed by the encroaching rot of Nazism, The Heiresses is a coolly harrowing dissection of class and the cost of motherhood and a haunting vision of lives on a collision course with history.
About the filmmaker:
Márta Mészáros is a socialist and feminist filmmaker whose trailblazing, six-decade career broke barriers in cinema hierarchies, helped legitimize women’s artistic emancipation within the industry, alongside her contemporaries such as Agnès Varda and Věra Chytilová. Read more.
Gateway Film Center is pleased to present a selection of Mészáros’s most essential films.The Films of Márta Mészáros See our upcoming films