Event reveals Latin American lineup

BARCELONA — Chile contributes half of the Latin American films chosen for this year’s Films in Progress showcase at the Toulouse Rencontres Cinemas d’Amerique Latine.

Trio of pics, all seeking completion finance at the event’s 13th edition, confirms Chile’s status as home to one of the fastest-growing film industries in Latin America.

Two Chilean pics are from first-timers: “Ilusiones Opticas,” from Cristian Jimenez, is a criss-crossed chronicle of the lives of three confused men; Matias Pinochet’s “Irrespirable” begins with a couple deciding to inject some fresh life into their relationship by moving to Mexico.

The third, “Tony Manero,” the second film from Pablo Larrain, was a standout at the Berlinale’s Latin American Works in Progress showcase.

Promising to be a thought provoking reflection on cultural identity, pic turns on an over-the-hill imitator of Tavolta’s character in “Saturday Night Fever” who falls in with anti-Pinochet activists in 1979’s Santiago de Chile, but shares none of their political ideals.

Another standout at Berlin, Argentine pic “Lovely Loneliness,” a first feature from Victoria Galardi and Martin Carranza, toplines rising star Ines Efron, who appeared in Lucia Puenzo’s “XXY.”

In “Loneliness,” Efron appears in kooky comedy vein, as a girl who swears to stay single for three years after her boyfriend dumps her.

The lineup is rounded out by Brazilian helmer Mauricio Farias’ “Veronica,” about a 40-year-old teacher living in a poverty stricken part of Rio, and “Juntos,” from Mexico’s Nicolas Pereda, who comes to Toulouse with the cache of having won top prize last year at Mexico’s Morelia fest for “Donde estan sus historias?”

A twice-yearly showcase launched in 2001, Films in Progress 13 runs April 3-4 in Toulouse. Films in Progress 14 takes place Sept. 23-24 at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

John Hopewell contributed to this report.

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