Screenplay: 117 pages

Synopsis: JUANA and her younger sister MARIA escape as illegal immigrants from a sweat shop. Running from the nightmare of being sold into prostitution, Juana holds Maria's hand tight as she remembers the sight, at her mother's deathbed, of the Virgin Mary silently offering protection. Juana's prayer is heard. Childhood friend CARLOS rescues her, thus wins her love and marries her.

Four years later, Juana is now the responsible mother of a young daughter, Luisita, and caretaker of her sister Maria, a beautiful and spirited 19-year-old woman. But when Carlos returns from another one of his mysterious business trips, Juana is once again confronted to her inability to perform as a wife. In the bedroom Juana shuts down and finds excuses, which Carlos heard too many times. What he doesn't hear is the brute orgasmic groaning that haunts Juana and paralyses her.

I wish I had feather, millions of feathers to form two mighty wings... that carry me away from the kings of bead weathers to the queens of love who live high and perhaps even above the sky.” Juana fights disturbing childhood memories by writing poems inspired by visions of the Virgin Mary and by one of Juana's employers, JOANN, a sensual and successful writer who sees in Juana more than just a maid. Guided by these powerful forces in her life, Juana goes to a career center where she is encouraged to share her dream of becoming a teacher and of her love for poetry. One step toward change generates another one, devastating, but life-changing: Juana finds Carlos and Maria making love with a passion Juana has never known. In a daze Juana packs a few things and leaves with her daughter. Incapable to cope with her departure, Carlos cannot take the hand that Maria is reaching out to him and Maria leaves too. Juana meets with a publisher and sends him a sample of her poetry. She confides to JoAnn about Carlos and Maria. When JoAnn touches on the subject of Juana's sexual paralyses Juana avoids the conversation. A few days later JoAnn takes Juana to a massage parlor. As she relaxes Juana dreams of the Virgin Mary again. When she tries to follow her, Juana finds her body trapped by layers and layers of black wrap, but ultimately is confronted to the beauty and power of her pure and free self.

That evening Juana's life changes again as she finds herself sitting in the corridor of a deserted hospital, waiting to find out whether Carlos will live or die of gunshot wounds. Remorseful, she moves back to their apartment. JoAnn unsuccessfully fights for Juana to keep following her dream. A guilt-ridden Juana looks for her sister and finds Maria in a sleazy nightclub, sitting down with very shady characters. Juana's life suddenly turns into a surreal nightmare. Running though the night, hunted by memories of sexual abuse by her father and faceless voices calling her a “bad girl,” Juana fights for her soul and wins. Her frantic race takes her to JoAnn and they confess their love for one another. Maria visits Carlos in the hospital. At a poetry festival JoAnn sits in the audience, Luisita on her knees. On stage Juana reads a poem; she is relaxed, looking very much like the “poetisa” and woman she always dreamed to be.

Screenplay Synopsis

La Poetisa