While the the Dominican Republic’s genre-oriented popular comedies have been blowing up local box offices, and even spreading to neighboring islands, Dominican cinema has also been bringing savvier audiences a slow but steady output of artful and intelligent auteur cinema. Over the last couple of years, features like Dólares de arena (Sand Dollars) and the documentary Tú y Yo (You and Me), have been establishing a particular brand of Dominican narratives sensitive to the country’s stark divisions of race and class, and now we can add another documentary to this growing list that fits right in with some of these emerging local tendencies.
Tatiana Fernández Geara’s Nana explores the struggles of Dominican nannies working in the United States, juxtaposing their live-in realities with the drastically different context from which they came, and delving into the surrogate motherhood experienced by both the nannies and the family members left to care for their own children back home. According to Férdandez, this extremely intimate project started out as part of her master’s thesis in Photojournalism at the University of Missouri before taking on its own life as a feature documentary.
While Fernández made the film with a minimal team and limited resources, her background as a photographer is writ large throughout the two and a half-minute trailer, which brings us stunningly lensed images of domestic labor interspersed with lively interviews and home video footage. In all, Nana promises to be a thoughtful reflection on the sacrifices of motherhood in a country where poverty, discrimination, and exclusion often require parents to take drastic measures in order to ensure a better life for their children.
Nana will world premiere at the Festival del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano in Havana on December 10, 2015.