Clara y Férula

Directed by

Ivan Maryanov

Produced by

Godofredo Mariano Productions

Written by


Release date

November 25, 2015


Olga Grisenko
Dmitriya Shevchova


m30 million

Box office income

m199 million


100 minutes


Margovyan National Pictures

Clara y Férula (English: Clara and Férula) is a 2015 Margovyan fantasy drama film directed by Ivan Maryanov, written by Godofredo, and starring Olga Grisenko and Dmitriya Shevchova as the titular characters. The characters' names (Clara del Valle and Férula Trueba) are taken from the 1982 novel The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, and the two women soon find themselves going through events similar to those experienced by their namesakes in the aforementioned novel. The film was a modest domestic success and was also nominated for a number of South American film festivals in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia. This marks Maryanov and Godofredo's debut into the magical realism genre popular throughout South America.


Clara del Valle (Olga Grisenko) and Férula Trueba (Dmitriya Shevchova) are two women in their thirties living vastly different lives: Clara is an absent-minded woman who often forgets to do her chores and housework while Férula is a spinster who still lives with and cares for her arthritis-ridden mother whose last refuge from her perceived injustices of the world is the Catholic Church. But their lives are soon about to collide when they go to a bookshop to buy The House of the Spirits for different reasons: Clara wants to buy the book as a gift to a friend while Férula wants to learn more about the character after which she was named.

Clara and Férula search for copies of The House of the Spirits throughout Santiago, only to learn that the book has mysteriously sold out. Eventually, both of them make their way to a small and antique bookshop and end up grabbing the last copy of the novel in the shop. The women get into a quarrel about who got the book first until the Bookseller (Godofredo), the mysterious proprietor of the shop, offers them both "special" first editions of the novel after they both refuse his attempt to use the Judgment of Solomon on the book and once he listens to their reasons for wanting the book. Both Clara and Férula skim through their books to get to grips with the exact nature of the novel.

Clara returns home to find a dog waiting for her at the doorstep. She adopts the dog and names it Barrabás, unaware of the significance of the dog of the same name in The House of the Spirits. Meanwhile, Férula's brother, Teban (Vladislav Nenadovic) returns from working in the mines and declares his intention to marry someone, anyone, to carry on the family name. Férula and Teban happen to meet Clara during a football match, and Teban is immediately attracted to Clara, and Clara unexpectedly feels the same for Teban. Teban proposes to Clara soon after, surprising both families.

Clara and Teban's marriage is one of the biggest events in Santiago for the year, and they soon settle into the married life. Unfortunately for Teban, Clara, who has never been the most interested when it comes to performing household chores, can't be bothered to pick up the broom even now that she is married. Férula, who finds herself "strangely compelled" towards Clara, offers to move in with the newlyweds to help them out; Teban is reluctant but Clara agrees when Férula invites her for some tea and snacks.

Férula moves into Clara and Teban's house and takes care of the chores for the couple. Through all this, though, Férula struggles to reconcile her "attraction" to Clara with her fervent religious beliefs. One day, Clara brings home her dog Barrabás, who has grown to the size of a small pony, surprising both Férula and Teban. Férula suddenly remembers something about an ever-growing dog in The House of the Spirits, and she immediately goes to read her copy once again and slowly begins to realize that her life and Clara's is slowly beginning to imitate their namesakes' lives in the novel.

Clara and Férula track down the Bookseller to find out more about what's happening to them, but when they reach his bookstore, they find the shop in the process of closing. The Bookseller tells them that business had been slow ever since the girls bought The House of the Spirits, and that he has no explanation for the things happening to them. The girls don't believe him, but as he refuses to talk about the topic, they are forced to drop it.

Clara and Teban enter into another fight with each other which eventually results in Teban slapping Clara. Clara is deeply shocked and hurt by the fact that her husband has hurt her and she is suddenly seized by an unexplainable and irrational desire to never speak to Teban again. Clara does speak about it to other people, including Férula, who asks Clara to think about it, but Clara is sure that this is what she wants to do. Clara does agree to Férula becoming her intermediary with Teban and to ensure that Clara keeps to her personal vow of silence to Teban. Clara and Teban do reconcile through Férula's efforts but Clara still refuses to talk to Teban.

A few weeks after Clara and Teban's fight, bad news arrives at the Trueba household: Clara's parents, Severo (Mikhail Pankavuranov) and Nivea (Milena Quebadieva) have been involved in a car accident. Severo survives, but Nivea doesn't, and Severo is too traumatized to describe what happened to his wife and Clara's mother that caused her death. Férula immediately recognizes that this situation is similar to the one encountered by the Clara del Valle character in The House of the Spirits but the Clara in this story also guesses that her mother was decapitated during the crash when Clara's father decides against an open casket funeral. Clara goes on a quest to find her mother's head, and Férula is forced to tag along when she fails to dissuade Clara from this particular course of action. Clara's quest takes them to the Chilean Death Road, and Clara braves a trek down the road's treacherous cliffs to retrieve her mother's head. Clara finds her mother's head and takes it back to Santiago to be buried with the rest of Nivea del Valle's body.

Clara falls ill and gets a fever because of spending time in the rain while searching for her mother's head. Férula takes it upon herself to take care of Clara, to which Clara doesn't mind. During a particularly bad period of her illness, Clara asks Férula to lie in bed with her and embrace her as she is feeling cold, which Férula does. Clara then tells Férula that she feels that she is about to die and rejoin her mother in heaven, to which Férula responds vehemently in the negative and tells Clara that she will not die today. Clara then asks Férula to kiss her on the forehead because that was what Clara's mother would do to her whenever she was sick. Férula kisses Clara at the exact moment that Teban chooses to check upon his wife, and he misinterprets Férula's kiss as romantic rather than platonic, and Teban demands that Férula leave his house at once. Férula tries to explain herself, but Teban would have none of it, so Férula runs out of the house in tears.

Clara goes to talk to Férula once she finally feels well enough to get out of the house following her illness. Férula finally comes to terms with her feelings for Clara, admitting that she really did feel an attraction for Clara before finally deciding that they are both better off as friends. Clara tries to persuade Férula to return to the Trueba household but Férula refuses, claiming that Teban has made himself quite clear that he doesn't want to see her ever again, but Clara and Férula do part on good terms themselves.

A few months after being forced to leave the Trueba household, while running an errand, Férula is hit by a car and is killed. The wake is held at the house where Férula has lived since getting kicked out as Teban stubbornly maintains his statement that Férula cannot come into his house anymore, even in death. Clara goes to Férula's wake, asking for some time alone with Férula's body. Clara then takes it upon herself to prepare Férula's body for the funeral, perfuming and dressing Férula in her Sunday best. The Bookseller appears to give his condolences but Clara recognizes that he is the one behind the events that had happened and demands to know why he did so. The Bookseller only says that it was because both Clara and Férula wanted to know why they had been given the names of a pair of book characters so he showed them how the characters lived. The Bookseller then gives Clara the choice of continuing to live this life or going back to before Clara and Férula met each other at the Bookseller's shop. Clara chooses to go back, and the Bookseller wishes her luck before Clara suddenly falls asleep.

Clara wakes up in her room in the del Valle household. A copy of The House of the Spirits, along with a handwritten note from the Bookseller telling her to make the best out of her life and wishing her good luck is on her bedside. Clara briefly skims through the book before making her way out of her room, bumping into her still-living mother in the process. After convincing herself that this was a dream sequence brought about by the Bookseller, Clara decides to confront him once again by going to his bookstore but instead finds the place had been closed, abandoned and already condemned for some time. Clara then notices another woman looking at the abandoned store and then recognizes her as Férula, also alive and well. Férula asks Clara about the now-missing bookstore and then the two women introduce themselves to each other. Férula says that Clara looks familiar to her, and Clara says that she (Férula) has no idea before Clara invites the latter to coffee.


Clara is a quiet and aloof woman who often neglects basic aspects of her own life such as housekeeping. When she gets a copy of The House of the Spirits from a mysterious bookseller, she soon finds that she has gained the paranormal abilities of her novel namesake such as the ability to see monsters and spirits and look into the future, and she also experiences a sudden irrational desire to never speak to anyone who hurts her.

Férula is a devout Catholic who cares for her ailing mother and resents the fact that, being the woman, she has to be the one to sacrifice instead of her brother. She wishes to buy a copy of The House of the Spirits to learn more about the character after which her parents named her, and she soon realizes that she is having strange feelings for the woman whom she nearly fought for the last copy of the novel.

The Bookseller is a mysterious figure who runs the bookshop where Clara and Férula end up meeting and almost fighting for the last copy of The House of the Spirits. He is the one who offers them "special editions" of the novel to end their quarrel, and it is also implied that he has some kind of power to make people experience the lives of the characters whom they most relate to.