A film by Matías Piñeiro
(USA/Argentina, 2016, 87 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles)
A Kino Lorber release.
A favorite at the Locarno, New York, Toronto, and BFI London film festivals, Matías Piñeiro’s fourth installment in his celebrated series on William Shakespeare’s comedies also marks his first film shot in the United States.
In Hermia & Helena, Camila, a young Argentine theater director, travels from Buenos Aires to New York City to attend an artists’ residency to develop her new project: a new Spanish translation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Upon her arrival, Camila quickly realizes that her work doesn’t compensate for the absence of her friends and boyfriend she left behind. When she begins to receive a series of mysterious postcards from Danièle, a former participant in the same residency, Camila second-guesses her studies altogether.
The fifth feature film by the Argentine-born director includes understated and complex performances by an assorted cast featuring Piñeiro regulars Agustina Muñoz and María Villar (Viola, The Princess of France), with stalwarts of New York’s independent film scene such as Keith Poulson (Listen Up Philip), Mati Diop (Claire Denis’s 35 Shots of Rum), filmmakers Dan Sallitt (The Unspeakable Act) and Dustin Guy Defa (the upcoming Human People).
In Hermia & Helena (named after two characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Piñeiro continues his exploration of female roles in Shakespeare’s comedies after Rosalinda (2010), Viola (2012), and The Princess of France (2014), and his most recent film is a welcome creative encounter between American independent filmmaking and Latin American cinema. A valentine to New York City, Hermia & Helena is a film of delightful amorous detours, dead ends, and new beginnings, navigating different hemispheres and languages, where the written words of Shakespeare clash with the entanglements of modern, digital life.
“(A) gloriously imaginative vision of youthful ardor in love and art alike.”
—Richard Brody, The New Yorker