Filmmaker Inés Bortagaray Sees the World with Fresh Eyes

On this day in 2019, the film Invisible Life was released in theaters. A drama about a pair of sisters kept apart by a huge lie, the film was described by FF2 contributor Bea Viri as “a tale about two resilient women who show adversity by simply continuing to exist while being beaten down by the patriarchy.” Invisible Life was written by Inés Bortagaray. 

Inés Bortagaray is a Uruguayan author and screenwriter. In the early 2000s, she worked in journalism, reporting for the publication Posdata. She also wrote books at this time: her debut novel was Ahora tendré que matarte (Now I Will Have to Kill You). In the book, she depicted regular scenes of life (a girl who starts her period, a fish dying and being flushed down the toilet) with an extremely fresh perspective, as if she’s seeing it all for the first time, imbuing these scenes with a sort of magic.

She wrote one of her first screenplays in 2010: La vida útil or A Useful Life. Set in the Cinemateca Uruguaya in Montevideo, a non-profit cinematheque which Inés frequented herself a lot in her youth, A Useful Life centers around Jorge, the manager of the cinematheque, who struggles to find purpose and meaning when it must close for financial reasons. A poignant exploration of one man’s love of film, A Useful Life was selected as the Uruguayan entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards. 

“My Friend from the Park” won the award for screenwriting in the World Cinema Dramatic Competitionat the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

In 2015, Inés wrote a screenplay with Ana Katz (a frequent collaborator of hers). The film is called Mi amiga del parque (My Friend from the Park), and tells the story of a new and increasingly complex friendship between two mothers with newborn babies. The film was a nuanced and unexpected portrayal of both motherhood and female friendship. It was shown in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival where it won the award for screenwriting. 

Inés wrote Invisible Life in 2019, exploring the patriarchy from the perspective of her two female protagonists. The film centers around two sisters, Guida and Euridice, who are separated when Guida becomes pregnant out of wedlock. Their father disowns her and tells a lie to keep them apart. Each believing the other is across the world, they live their lives separately, though they both continue to struggle with toxic masculinity in their own ways. As Bea Viri says in her review, The Invisible Life “is not afraid to explore the ugly.” Through the experiences of the film’s compelling main characters, Inés’ screenplay is unrelenting in its depiction of the cruel effects of the patriarchy. 

Inés’ strength as a writer is her ability to see the world with fresh eyes; as if unburdened by the usual biases and clichés surrounding her. In turn, anything written by Inés grants us with an entirely new and unexpected perspective about the world, often about the things we thought we knew best.  

© Julia Lasker (12/20/23) Special for FF2 Media

LEARN MORE/DO MORE

Read Bea Viri’s review of Invisible Life here.

Watch Invisible Life here.

Watch A Useful Life here.

Watch My Friend from the Park here.

Visit Inés’s Wikipedia page

Visit Inés’s IMDb page.

CREDITS & PERMISSIONS

Featured Photo: Carol Duarte as “Euridice” in the film INVISIBLE LIFE (2019), co-written by Inés Bortagaray. Photo Credit: Photo 12 / Alamy Stock Photo. Image ID: 2H7NW94

Bottom Photo: Inés Bortagaray in Uruguay at the 2019 Montevideo Book Fair session called “Writings of Everyday Memory.” Posted on Wikipedia by Pepe Piton on 8/21/20. (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

Tags: A Useful Life, Ahora tendré que matarte, Bea Viri, Carol Duarte, female Uruguayan author, female Uruguayan filmmaker, Inés Bortagaray, Invisible Life, Julia Lasker, Mi amiga del parque, My Friend from the Park, Now I Will Have to Kill You, Sundance Film Festival Winners, Uruguayan filmmaker

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As an associate for FF2 Media, Julia writes reviews and features for films made by women. She is currently a senior at Barnard College studying Psychology. Outside of FF2, her interests include acting, creative writing, thrift shopping, crafting, and making and eating baked goods. Julia has been at FF2 for almost 4 years, and loves the company and its mission dearly.
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