Thursday, March 17, 2016
Latin American cinema has some high film production markets like Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Chile and most award winning films tend to come from those countries but lately markets like Colombia and Peru have become source of award-worthy films. With less local production but many interesting films we cannot forget Venezuela and Uruguay.
This bird-view summary to say that production is healthy in the region and many great directors have films ready to premiere during 2016; some hope will make it to Cannes while others hope will make it to any other film festival in the circuit.
Since the end of last year there were a couple of films that had big buzz for 2016 Cannes and after 2016 Berlin one has become THE film that every cinema pundit predicts could win this year Palme d'Or. We all know that it's too early for the guessing game but all the buzz is consequence of the power a director has and yes, Lucrecia Martel has done extremely outstanding films and believe she deserves all the positive buzz her latest film has generated. Let's start with Martel.
Lucrecia Martel with Zama
Acclaimed Argentinean director has been doing shorts and documentaries but no feature film since her outstanding 2008 La Mujer Sin Cabeza (The Headless Woman); so, 8 years after, she has a new film. A different kind of film.
Since her feature film debut, 2001 La Ciénaga she has written or co written her films screenplays from her own original ideas. Zama is different because is her first feature film without an original idea from her as is based on acclaimed Antonio Di Benedetto 1956 novel with the same name; still, Martel wrote the screenplay adaptation. It's an historic movie but is also a parody, so story seems exactly fitting Martel's peculiar and particular filmmaking style.
Yes, hope film is ready as many sites, including film production companies, have film release for 2017. Nevertheless, film has strong credentials starting with co production companies like Almodóvar Brothers El Deseo, Mexico's Canana, French MPM Films, American Louverture Films, Dutch Lemming Film and Netherlands Filmfonds, Portugal's O Som e a Fúria, Swiss KNM, and Argentina's Picnic Productions. Film was produced by Rei Cine in Argentina and Bananeir Filmes from Brasil. As you can see it's a true international production and co production with an interesting cast lead by Daniel Giménez Cacho and Lola Dueñas.
No matter if it makes to Cannes or not, or to any other festival, is must be seen for me as I watch everything by Lucrecia Martel.
Talking about Argentine movies, let me do something special, this is a short list of interesting films that could be released during 2016, according to Argentinean press and besides Zama.
Cien años de perdón by Daniel Calparsor, France, Spain and Argentina (March 3, 2016)
Kóblic by Sebastián Borensztein ( with Ricardo Darín as a pilot who refuses to follow orders during infamous recent Argentinian dictatorship. (May 12, 2016)
Gilda by Lorena Muñoz -a biopic with the most surreal story about Myriam Alejandra Bianchi, better known as Gilda, a stage-name she adopted from unforgettable Rita Hayworth's character. (September 7, 2016)
Check Kóblic trailer (yes, must be seen for me)
Pablo Larraín with Neruda
Larraín has been really busy filming late last year and this year and now has two films in post production, one is the Chilean-American co production Jackie about First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy and the other, Neruda, with a less-told story about the times when Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda became a fugitive in his home country for joining the Communist Party. Obviously I'm already "dying" to see Neruda.
After outstanding impact-full and very-unexpected El Club, Larraín goes back to work with Gael García Bernal and his regular magnificent Alfredo Castro to tell the story of an inspector hunting down Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda in 1948 when after several tries, crossed the Andean mountains into Argentina to end in France. Film is not a biopic, nor a documentary but follows chronological reality with lots of fiction.
Hope makes it to Cannes as after great El Club Berlinale success its time he goes back to Cannes.
Amat Escalante with La Región Salvaje (Untamed)
I intensely love to hate (just an image- minimize the hate part) Escalante's very violent films since his debut with 2005 Sangre up to 2016 Cannes Best Director award winner, Heli; so, based on what was able to learn about this movie, find it hard to believe that there will not be violence in this movie that is label as sci-fi/drama about love and falling-out-of-love of a young married couple. Actually, now while writing plot summary can see the irony and even imagine where the violence could be (lol!).
Another film description gets more my attention when says film is a social/sci fi movie about machismo, homophobia and the repression of women ... gee, this plot summary gives a lot more idea of where Escalante's trademark violence could be.
According to Mantarraya, Mexican production company, film premiere will be on September 2, 2016; but IMDb says will be May 15 in Mexico ... so, let's hope that May 15 date means Cannes and not Mexico. Mexican press already claim that film will be in Cannes, but we know how unreliable that country press could be; still, February article claims that film will be ready by the end of April.
Talking about extraordinary Mexican filmmakers will share another film I'm "dying" to see but will not be ready until the end of 2016 and probably will end up in 2017 Cannes. I'm talking about Donde Nace La Vida (Where Life is Born) by none other than my favorite director Carlos Reygadas! Also about love and loss of love in open couple relationships, set in fighting bull-breeding ranches (???!!!). OMG! What's going on with Mexican cinema scripts?
As has happened before, there is nothing (no films stills, no poster, no trailer) about the films by Amat Escalante and Carlos Reygadas. Grrr ...
Daniel Castro Zimbrón with Las Tinieblas (The Darkness)
Project was at 2016 Cannes Cinéfondation L'Atelier and the following is the synopsis from Cannes official site:
In a forest, always covered by a dense fog, Gustavo has maintained his three children locked in the basement of an old cabin making them believe that a wild beast roams the depths of the forest. Marcos, the eldest son, has not been back since the last time he went hunting with his father. In an effort to find his brother, Argel will discover the mysteries and secrets that both Gustavo and the forest hide and will have to decide how far he can go to confront what is hidden in darkness.
Unless something very unexpected happens, I foresee this film will make it to Cannes, as usually projects in L'Atelier or in The Residence end up premiering at the festival. Nevertheless have to admit that I'm curious about this film.
Kleber Mendonça Filho with Aquarius
Will share that I'm not familiar with director but got interested after learned was part of a very short list with Cahiers du Cinema most anticipated 2016 films and noticed that Sonia Braga plays the leading role in a VERY interesting story that tells about 65-year-old Clara, a retired music writer and critic, widowed and alone in the Aquarius apartment building after her three gown children have moved away ... and oops! she has mastered the gift of time travel!
Talking about Latin American directors there is one that did another English-language film with young Hollywood actors and after watching trailer can't say its Cannes material but always there are the parallel sections, so will share.
Gerardo Naranjo with Viena and the Fantomes
Mexican director of interesting films like 2008 Voy a Explotar (I'm Gonna Explode) and the film that propel him to a different level in Mexican and World cinema, Miss Bala has a new film and from what I see in the bad-quality trailer seems that he was able to transfer his disturbing filmmaking style to an American production about the intense times of Viena, as she travels with the Fantomes, a post punk band on tour through the American west. If what I'm saying is accurate then surely you have to prepare for an unusual cinematic ride as all Naranjo films have been before.
Film cast includes Dakota Fanning, Evan Rachel Wood, Zoë Kravitz and more young actors. Definitively there is something not-positive happening with this film as was supposed to be released in 2015 with many speculating film going to 2015 Cannes, then 2015 Venice, then 2015 Toronto, then 2016 Sundance, then 2016 Berlin and nothing happened. Seems film is hanging in the void, so let's hope will appear somewhere.