Ekstra is a day in the life of an extra in television shows and film. Played by Vilma Santos, we go through her day in the set of a mock telenovela and while we see the inner workings of a television production, we also see the hopes and dreams of the bit players who work just as hard as the actors and the conditions in which they work in relation to the expectations the production has of them. It is funny but it is also painful and sad. The tension from these two emotions make this film very successful because at one point you are laughing because of the ridiculousness of some of the situations, but at the same time, you feel sad because you know this is not very far from the truth.
By the end of the film, Vilma Santos' Loida learns a lot about herself and the industry she loves and the look she gives at the final moments of the film sort of explains everything she has learned in that day and it is cinematic gold. I haven't seen many Vilma Santos movies but this one truly exemplifies why she is a film icon. In one look, we know exactly what is going through her head, aided wonderfully by a pretty intelligent and layered script and a director who knows how to tell a story.