Vera (The Garden)

feature film in development


"By the roots of my hair some god got hold of me, I sizzled in his blue volts like a desert prophet." - Sylvia Plath



A woman. A room. A brothel. The cultural melting pot of the Melbourne underworld, 1922.

Sacrifice. Slavery. Surrender. Illumination.

Young Vera lives in The Garden, a cult of spinsters and prostitutes. With the arrival of her first blood, Madam Larissa, a Russian who holds an occult power over Vera’s mother and the other women, puts her to work.

During her first encounter, Vera’s boundaries are severely crossed. Aided by the help of Strege Nonna, an enchanting homeless woman, Vera is given keys to unlock the prisoners of her psyche and push back on this invasion.

As the police strike of 1921 ensues on the streets of Melbourne, Vera meets Wang Shu, the son of Albert, police chief and ex-husband of Madam Larissa. Wang Shu, equally entwined in the systems of violence inside and outside the brothel, seems to offer a perfect promise of freedom. But can Vera trust him?

A woman inherits her mothers stories, wounds and secrets. How do we break the cycle of trauma when it is our only reality? A transcendental journey healing psychic wounds, witnessed through the lens of one girls body as she makes the transition into womanhood.


writer / director  Zohie Castellano
producer - Ela Fundras

images are tone references only, Resa Tela does not own copyright.

Zohie Castellano