The heart of a disillusioned middle-aged sex worker opens up just enough to let in a glimmer of redemption in Marina Seresesky’s impressive, award-winning debut feature.
Rosa (Carmen Machi, also in this year’s The Tribe) lives with her Alzheimer-suffering mother Antonia (Terele Pávez, The Bar SFF17), also formerly a sex worker, in a tiny apartment in a run-down area in central Madrid. All the apartments face a communal balcony, which is the stage for the ‘entertainment’ as the neighbours fight, laugh and help each other, living as they do in close proximity. When Rosa’s neighbour Masha dies, Masha’s 7-year-old daughter Lyuba seeks refuge in Rosa’s apartment. Reluctantly, Rosa takes Lyuba in, assuming it will be for a few days but Antonia quickly becomes protective of the girl. To Rosa’s surprise Lyuba’s presence not only soothes her mother but is giving Rosa the kind of hope she hasn’t felt in a long time.
Hinging on the endlessly watchable performance of its leading lady Carmen Machi’s performance, The Open Door offers a compelling portrait of a woman whose fire is fading but not yet out.