Country: France, Spain
Language: Catalan, French
Original Title: El viatge de la Marta / Le voyage de Marta
Running Time: 81min
Film Year: 2019
Category: Films, Special Gems, Knight Marimbas Award
Special Offer – $9 tickets for this film, limited time only.
Spanish teenager Marta is on vacation in Senegal with her divorced father (played by the great Sergi López) and younger brother, and isn’t having a very good time. Annoyed by their all-inclusive resort’s phony “cultural experience” activities staged for the Euro-centric visitors, Marta rebels by trying to ingratiate herself with the hotel’s native workers – housekeeper Aissatou and excursion leader Khouma. Having crossed the boundary of “staff only” sign, Marta pursues a romantic connection with Khouma after dark, thrilling to “authentic” experience and connection, but soon finds herself at a crossroads between broken trust, power imbalance, and the barriers wrought by privilege and bias.
In a time where new generations are often aggressively pursuing some stark definitions of political correctness, Staff Only hits a zeitgeist nerve with a young protagonist who is as intelligent as she is inexperienced. Catalan director Neus Ballús turns an honest and critical eye to a rich cast of characters, all of them compassionate, flawed human beings trying to live their best lives – yet often at unforeseen costs. Embracing the rich Senegalese landscape, Staff Only is as charming as it is poignant, while asking fundamental questions about how we grow individually, and in relation to others.
This screening is supported by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and sponsored by AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Viendomovies available with Xfinity, FlixLatino and TV5Monde
The poster design for Staff Only by Edmon Roch of Ikiru Films (Barcelona) is eligible for the 2020 Miami Film Festival Poster Award, presented by Oolite Arts.
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Director: Neus Ballus
Producer: Ikiru Films, La Terraza Films, Les Films Hatari
Screenwriter: Neus BallÚS, Pau Subirós
Production Company: Ikiru Films, IFC Films
Music: Isabel Latorre
Cinematographer: Diego Dussuel
Editor: Neus Ballús