USA / Colombia, 2004 (MIFF 2004, FedEx International Panorama)

Director: Joshua Marston

Maria Full of Grace (Maria, Ilena eres de Gracia) USA/Colombia

Maria Full of Grace is a gritty, deeply humanist portrait of one woman's struggle for independence. It won the Audience Award for Drama at Sundance this year, and scooped the Best Actress prize at Berlin Film Festival (shared with Oscar winner Charlize Theron) for Catalina Sandino Moreno's stunning performance.

Maria is a quietly rebellious 17-year-old living in a small Colombian town, and whose life is in a rut. Forced to work a dead-end job on a rose plantation to put food on the family's table, and stuck in an uninspiring relationship with her boyfriend, Maria decides to escape to the capital, Bogotá. On the way she meets an acquaintance, Franklin, who seduces her into smuggling drugs into the USA with the promise of travel and quick cash. Striking up a friendship with fellow smuggler Lucy, who doles out helpful pointers, Maria's first 'job' involves swallowing packets of heroin and catching a plane to New York. If she doesn't comply, Maria is warned, there will be grave repercussions for her family.

'superbly calibrated at every turn and never predictable. By turns chilling and emotional, its suspense is fueled by keeping its gaze trained squarely on what's at stake for the characters and by steadily upping the audience's emotional investment in them.' -Variety

D/S Joshua Marston P Paul Mezey WS HBO Sales L Spanish w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/2003/101mins

Joshua Marston was born in California, USA. Films include: Bus to Queens (1999, short), Trifecta (2002, short).

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