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original title: PAULA

2022, 89 min., color, Spanish

anti-stigma body-positive coming-of-age

COUNTRIES: Italy, Argentina
PRODUCTION : BUDGET : 467 135 euro



Lucia Castro, Lara Griboff, Julieta Montes, Tiziana Faleschini, Liz Correa


Director : Screenplay : Florencia Wehbe, Daniela De Francesco
Cinematographer : Dario Mascambroni
Producers : Fernanda Rocca, Dario Mascambroni, Claudio Esposito


FESTIVALS: Annual Copenhagen Film Festival 2023, Thessaloniki International Film Festival 2023, Melbourne International Film Festival 2023, Sofia International Film Festival (Teen Competition) 2023, Luxembourg City Film Festival (Young Audience selection) 2023, Aswan International Women Film Festival (Сompetition) 2023, Huelva Ibero-American Film Festival 2022, Just Film (Tallinn Black Night) 2022, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival 2022, SCHLiNGEL 2022, Sarajevo Film Festival (TeenArena) 2022, GIFFONI (National Premiere) 2022, BAFICI (Buenos Aires) 2022 (National Premiere) 

DIRECTOR’S PITCH: We can remember many milestones in our lives with perfect clarity: our first period, our first kiss, a fight, or an accident. Situations and stories that made us grow or learn. But when exactly did we learn that our bodies are not enough? When did our appearance become so important? Who taught us the concept of beauty, and what tools did they use?

Female beauty standards are a social, political, and economic issue. The standards change over time, but their sole purpose remains the same: to dishearten us and slowly destroy our self-esteem. The oppression and damage that the beauty industry has inflicted over the years on society, especially on women, is immense and irreversible.

This film tells the story of Paula, a 14-year-old girl who must walk a lonely path in search of self-acceptance in a society where female beauty standards are unattainable and where anorexia promises dangerous solutions.

This story was born from the director’s need to recount her personal experiences and encounters with eating disorders. However, during its development, the story took on a greater significance when she realised how many women silently go through the same conflicts, infantilised by a society that chooses to ignore their pain.

We are the product and the consumer, which is truer now than ever. Social media promotes and sells idealized bodies and magical solutions to non-existent problems, generating more insecurities, consumerism, and humiliation.

“Paula” is a desperate, urgent and necessary cry: it is a breath of fresh air, a story that tells the beginning of a stigma that will leave physical and mental scars, ghosts that will follow us for the rest of our lives.



At only fourteen years old, Paula hates her body. In an attempt to express what she feels, Paula creates a blog and becomes part of a large virtual community that shares her problems. Shelter in anonymity, she uploads content recorded with her cell phone, exposing her friends and family. The feeling of belonging blinds Paula, who begins to walk a lonely path in which bulimia and anorexia lurk as alternatives in the search for self-acceptance.


Paula does a generally good job of explaining the insidious nature of eating disorders and how every aggression, micro and macro, fuels them. It isn’t just aggression that fuels eating disorders but also the community that awards thinness.Nadine Whitney,

It is good for a popular audience of teenage girls to see their own experience reflected in their entertainment, and Paula is a worthy and responsible mirror.Grant Watson, Fiction Machine

Para colmo, Paula tiene una hermana mayor, Sofi (Virginia Schulthess), que es flaca y muy atractiva, por lo que parece concitar mayor interés por parte de sus padres. Cómo sortear las injusticias y las tensiones es parte del camino que deberá transitar la protagonista y que Wehbe narra con recato, pudor, pero al mismo tiempo con convicción y empatía.
Puede que en algunos momentos la película ceda a ciertos lugares del género de las historias coming-of-age, pero la intimidad de Paula y la dinámica grupal con sus amigas están descriptas con una sensibilidad que convierten al film, con su abordaje de las presiones psicológicas y de los trastornos alimenticios, en otro valioso exponente del cine cordobés de y sobre jóvenes.Diego Batlle,

Wehbe retrata con una sensibilidad notable, y un naturalismo no muy común, la cara externa e interna de un personaje convulsionado, presionado por el afuera, pero también por el adentro, que se encuentra en una permanente lucha con sus demonios más profundos. La joven cineasta se aleja del drama meloso, en el que podría haber caído con facilidad, para construir un retrato social, certero y sin demagogia, por momentos alegre y luminoso, más allá de la oscuridad temática, de la heteronormatividad impuesta a través de mandatos sociales y familiares, donde a pesar del cambio de época, sigue tan arraigada en el inconsciente colectivo que cuesta erradicar.Juan Pablo Russo, EscribiendoCine